Inflammation of the brain / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain.[5] The severity can be variable with symptoms including reduction or alteration in consciousness, headache, fever, confusion, a stiff neck, and vomiting.[1][6] Complications may include seizures, hallucinations, trouble speaking, memory problems, and problems with hearing.[1]

Quick facts: Encephalitis, Specialty, Symptoms, Complicati...
MRI scan image shows high signal in the temporal lobes and right inferior frontal gyrus in someone with HSV encephalitis.
SpecialtyNeurology, Infectious disease
SymptomsHeadache, fever, confusion, stiff neck, vomiting[1]
ComplicationsSeizures, trouble speaking, memory problems, problems hearing[1]
DurationWeeks to months for recovery[1]
TypesHerpes simplex, West Nile, rabies, Eastern equine, others[2]
CausesInfection, autoimmune, certain medication, unknown[2]
Diagnostic methodBased on symptoms, supported by blood tests, medical imaging, analysis of cerebrospinal fluid[2]
TreatmentAntiviral medication, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, artificial respiration[1]
Frequency4.3 million (2015)[3]
Deaths150,000 (2015)[4]

Causes of encephalitis include viruses such as herpes simplex virus and rabies virus as well as bacteria, fungi, or parasites.[1][2] Other causes include autoimmune diseases and certain medications.[2] In many cases the cause remains unknown.[2] Risk factors include a weak immune system.[2] Diagnosis is typically based on symptoms and supported by blood tests, medical imaging, and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid.[2]

Certain types are preventable with vaccines.[5] Treatment may include antiviral medications (such as acyclovir), anticonvulsants, and corticosteroids.[1] Treatment generally takes place in hospital.[1] Some people require artificial respiration.[1] Once the immediate problem is under control, rehabilitation may be required.[2] In 2015, encephalitis was estimated to have affected 4.3 million people and resulted in 150,000 deaths worldwide.[3][4]