What Is Arboviral Encephalitis? Arboviral encephalitis, also known as arboviral disease or arboviral meningoencephalitis, is an infection of the brain caused by an arbovirus, which can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, tick or another arthropod.
The most common symptoms of this condition include fever, headache and other flu-like symptoms, in addition to neurological issues like confusion, paralysis and seizures.
Overview – What Is Arboviral Encephalitis?
Arboviral encephalitis is a condition in which an infection of your brain, or encephalitis, is caused by a virus. This can occur after a mosquito, tick or other types of insect bite. Symptoms include fevers, headaches and vomiting. Left untreated, arboviral encephalitis can cause permanent brain damage or death.
While you might not have heard much about it before now, arboviral encephalitis is common in tropical and subtropical areas throughout Central and South America and Africa.
How Do You Get Arboviral Encephalitis?
The symptoms of arboviral encephalitis can vary depending on which virus has infected you. But in general, symptoms typically include fever, headaches and neurological problems such as confusion, altered behavior or seizures.
Some patients experience loss of consciousness and muscle weakness. There are five main types of arboviruses that can cause encephalitis in humans: West Nile, eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE), St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) and California Jamestown Canyon virus.
The disease occurs in North America, Europe and Asia where these arthropods live outdoors. People usually become infected with these viruses after being bitten by an infected mosquito or tick that has feasted on an infected animal or bird.
Signs & Symptoms Of Arboviral Encephalitis
CDC lists 11 symptoms of arboviral encephalitis. The most common are fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. If you or someone you know has these symptoms and is living in an area where arboviruses are found, see a doctor immediately. See chart for more info.
A doctor can check for an arbovirus infection by performing blood tests. However, since other diseases such as meningitis may cause similar symptoms as those listed above, it’s also important to get proper medical treatment from your primary physician as well as treat any secondary infections associated with your condition.
For example: if it’s detected that you have both West Nile virus (WNV) and bacterial meningitis at the same time when hospitalized with suspected encephalitis, antibiotics will be prescribed to treat your bacterial meningitis (among other things). Be sure to complete full course of antibiotics before being discharged from hospital so that your body can heal itself faster… treating infections in time maximizes chances of survival.
Where Does The Virus That Causes Arboviral Encephalitis Come From?
Arboviral encephalitis virus can be transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks as well as some flies. Infection with any of these pests is known as a mosquito-borne disease, which means that mosquitoes are responsible for spreading it. Transmission doesn’t always occur in every mosquito bite, though.
In fact, many people who experience one of these diseases never had contact with a vector at all. Instead, they may have been bitten by an infected tick or fly. The severity of arboviral encephalitis symptoms depends on which virus causes them and how sick you are when you first notice them. Several different viruses cause arboviral encephalitis and it can be difficult to detect them using simple tests.
Who Gets Affected By It?
According to CDC data, most encephalitis cases occur in children under age 15, but all age groups are susceptible. Although cases of arboviral encephalitis occur in all regions of the United States, they are more common in warm weather states and during years when ticks or mosquitoes thrive.
In particular, Lyme disease — spread by tick bites — is far more prevalent than some other arboviruses such as West Nile virus (spread by mosquito). It’s also important to note that people with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of contracting arboviral encephalitis. Pregnant women can pass along an infection through their blood supply and breast milk.
How Is This Virus Treated?
The treatment for arboviral encephalitis depends on whether your condition is acute or chronic. Acute arboviral encephalitis is treated with medications and supportive care. Medications may include antivirals, antibiotics and antipyretics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
In cases of severe disease, you may need sedation if you become restless and more prone to seizures. And in some instances of chronic encephalitis, which can cause long-term disability, immunosuppressive drugs are used alongside antivirals to reduce immune reactions against your brain tissue.
Prevention Tips For Mosquito-Borne Diseases Spread By Insects/Animals/Bacteria
Mosquito-borne diseases are more than just annoyances. When a member of your family is affected by one, you need to be aware of what your options are for treatment and prevention. Knowing what to do when facing one of these conditions can help you feel more in control, which can ultimately make a big difference in how well your loved one recovers.
In any situation like this, knowing that you’ve done everything you can possibly do goes a long way. Here’s an overview of prevention tips for mosquito-borne diseases spread by insects/animals/bacteria: Prevention Tips For Mosquito-Borne Diseases Spread By Insects/Animals/Bacteria: Here’s What You Need To Know