What is Encephalitis, types, causes, treatment?


Encephalitis disease is an inflammation of the brain that results from the immune system attacking brain tissue or from a viral infection. Swelling happens when the body tries fighting off the virus. Research shows that it happens to every 1 person in 1000. People who suffer from this illness may experience different physical outlooks due to various factors. For instance the cause, severity, age, and health status.


Encephalitis is grouped into different types hence each group has a different cause. So, the types are;

  • Japanese encephalitis which is spread through bites from mosquitoes
  • Eastern equine also spread through mosquito bites.
  • Tick-borne which is spread by infectious ticks.
  • Rabies that one gets through bites and scratches by infectious animals.

Signs and symptoms of encephalitis

There are symptoms that are more common and experienced by almost everyone who suffers from this illness. These are;

  • Fever
  • flu
  • Headache
  • Photophobia which is sensitivity to light
  • Body weakness

Also, there are symptoms that are not very common to all although some people experience them. They are;

  • Stiffness of the neck.
  • Stiffness of the limbs.
  • Movements may slow down.
  • Clumsiness.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Coughing.

Moreover, there are symptoms that may be too serious when experienced which may call for an agent action. These are;

  • Having a severe headache.
  • Experiencing nausea or vomiting.
  • A feeling of confusion.
  • Having loss of memory.
  • Developing speech or hearing issues.
  • If one starts having hallucinations.
  • Seizures.
  • Being in a coma.

Signs and symptoms in children or infants

It is not easy to detect this illness in young children. Therefore, you should be keen to check either of the following symptoms. However, conclusions should not be made until diagnosis and results are given by a medical practitioner. The signs and symptoms that you should look out for are;

  • If the child is vomiting.
  • If you notice a bulge on the fontanel which is the soft area on the front part of the head.
  • Excessive crying.
  • Stiffness of the child’s body.

Causes of encephalitis

Encephalitis spreading agent

So, this illness may develop as a result of the brain being directly infected with a virus. Also, it may occur due to the immune system responding to past infections, and it mistakenly starts attacking the brain tissue.

So, the main categories of viruses that cause the illness are;

a. Common viruses– These include herpes simplex virus or HSV, and Epstein Barr virus.

b. Arboviruses– These types of viruses are spread by mosquitoes, ticks, and other harmful insects.

c. Childhood viruses– They include mumps and measles

So, since this illness is a result of complications of a viral infection, symptoms may be noted days or even weeks after the exact infection. Again, your immune system treats brain cells that are healthy as foreign and therefore, attack them. It is not clear why this happens.


Complications as a result of this illness may include;

  • Memory loss especially in people who suffered HSV encephalitis.
  • Change of one’s personality or behavior.
  • Epilepsy
  • Speech problems


  • Steroid injections can be given to reduce the swelling in the brain.
  • Antiviral medicines can be given to treat the root cause of that condition.
  • Also, antibiotics for treating bacteria that may cause the illness.
  • Anticonvulsants are used where illnesses cause seizures to reduce convulsions.
  • Surgery can also be carried out when the doctors diagnose a tumor as a result of encephalitis.

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