Encephalitis: Putting It All Together

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to encephalitis.

  • Encephalitis is a serious medical emergency caused when the brain becomes inflamed, usually as the result of an infection.
  • Fever, headaches, fatigue, seizures, nausea and vomiting, and mental confusion are some of the common signs of encephalitis.
  • In most cases, doctors are not able to definitively identify what germ caused the illness. They often give antibiotics and anti-viral medications in the absence of a firm diagnosis so as to err on the side of caution.
  • Outbreaks of encephalitis are usually traced to insect-borne viruses called Arboviruses. However, the majority of cases are sporadic and isolated.
  • While there is a wide variation in outcome, patients with serious cases can die or be left with permanent brain damage. Sometimes the after-effects will improve with time. Many patients recover fully.

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