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ENCEPHALITIS: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT

Dr Reginald Varadarajulu Vsm

Dr Reginald Varadarajulu Vsm

  Hbr layout, Bengaluru     Mar 13, 2018

   1 min     

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Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue caused by a viral infection.

CAUSES

The exact cause behind encephalitis is not known but the most common one includes a viral infection.

There are two main types of encephalitis:

  • Primary encephalitis: A condition when a virus directly infects the brain.
  • Secondary encephalitis: A condition that results from a faulty immune system reaction to an infection somewhere else in the body.

The common viruses that can cause encephalitis include:

  • Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
  • Other Herpes Viruses
  • Enteroviruses
  • Mosquito borne viruses
  • Tick borne viruses
  • Rabies
  • Childhood infections, such as Measles

RISK FACTORS

Anyone can have encephalitis but some factors may put you at a greater risk, such as:

  • Age: Young children and older adults are at a greater risk.
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Geographical regions
  • Season of the year

SYMPTOMS

The signs and symptoms of viral encephalitis are similar to that of a flu. Some common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Muscles and joints ache
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Seizures
  • Loss of sensation or paralysis
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Problems with speech and hearing
  • Lethargy
  • Hallucinations
  • Coma
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Vomiting

DIAGNOSIS

Based on your symptoms, your doctor will conduct the following tests:

  • Brain imaging with CT scan or MRI
  • Electroencephalograph (EEG)
  • Spinal tap or lumbar puncture
  • Blood tests
  • Brain biopsy

TREATMENT

Herpes encephalitis can be treated with anti-viral medications but they won’t be efficient in treating other forms of encephalitis. Other treatments may include:

  • Pain killers
  • Lukewarm sponge baths
  • Sedatives
  • Intravenous Fluids
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Corticosteroids
  • Breathing assistance
  • Physical, occupational, speech and  psychotherapy
Tags:  brain,neurology,

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