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Encephalitis is the clinical condition associated with the inflammation of the brain tissues, which are usually brought about by viruses, bacteria, immunologic factors, parasites and cancer. Those with a higher risk are usually the very young and the very old.

Encephalitis Symptoms

Mild encephalitis may cause fever, headache, muscle pain and fatigue. Severe cases of encephalitis may present with severe headache, altered consciousness, confusion, agitation, seizure and hallucinations.

Diagnostic Testing

Brain imaging like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) can demonstrate the brain swelling. A lumbar tap may show signs of increased pressure and characteristic differential counts. Electroencephalography (EEG) and Brain Biopsy may also aid in elucidating encephalitis.

Treatment Options

Treatment for mild cases may only require bed rest, fluids and anti-inflammatory drugs for a fever and headache. The following treatment options may be available for severe forms of encephalitis.

Anti-viral Treatment – Anti-viral drugs like Acyclovir and Gancyclovir may be used to treat encephalitis caused by some responsive virus like Herpes Virus. There are viruses however that is unresponsive to anti-viral treatment.

Supportive Care – Some people with severe encephalitis require supportive care like assistive respiration, intravenous fluid, anti-convulsants and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Rehabilitation – After a severe attack of encephalitis, those affected may require active rehabilitation to achieve functionality. They may benefit from physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and Psychotherapy.


The prognosis of severe encephalitis depends on the following factors, including: age, immune status, pre-existing neurological conditions and virulence of the virus. Favorable outcomes are expected from those who recover from a mild disease, while those with severe encephalitis with major disability may have poorer outcomes.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.