Research, Scientific Breakthroughs, & Caregiver Tips
What is Encephalitis?
Encephalitis is inflammation and swelling of brain tissue. Although the symptoms in most cases are mild, the condition can cause significant impairment of brain function.
The most common cause of encephalitis is an infection by one of several types of viruses, some of which are spread by the bite of infected insects or ticks. Bacterial infections and inflammatory conditions can also sometimes cause encephalitis, and one type of the disease is caused by an abnormal reaction of the body’s own immune system.
In many cases, encephalitis produces no symptoms at all, and in mild cases, the symptoms often resemble those of the flu, including fever, body aches, fatigue, and headache.
Other common encephalitis symptoms include:
- Stiff neck
- Light sensitivity
- Irritability, moodiness, or personality changes
- Fatigue, lethargy, or sleepiness
- Loss of appetite
- Balance problems
- Nausea or vomiting
In more severe cases, symptoms can include weakness or paralysis of limbs and problems with speech, vision, or hearing.
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