Do you want to know about encephalitis meaning, causes, symptoms, prevention, treatment, and vaccine of encephalitis?
Encephalitis meaning is inflammation of the brain. Viral infections are the most common cause of the disease. Encephalitis can cause flu-like symptoms, such as fever or severe headache. It can also cause confused thoughts, fits, or motor problems.
However, many cases of encephalitis cause only mild symptoms or appear without symptoms. Severe cases of encephalitis, although relatively rare, can be fatal. As the course of encephalitis is unpredictable, it is important to have a timely diagnosis and treatment. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Causes Of Encephalitis: Encephalitis meaning
It can be caused by a bacteria, parasite, infection, or virus. Inflammation can affect all or part of the brain and symptoms will vary depending on the area affected. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
But in 50% of cases, the cause is unknown. The exact cause of encephalitis is often unknown, but the most commonly diagnosed cause is a viral infection. Bacterial infections and non-infectious inflammatory diseases can also cause encephalitis.
An infection can cause one of two conditions affecting the brain:
- Primary encephalitis occurs when a virus or other infectious agent directly affects the brain. The infection can be concentrated in one part of the body or diffuse. Primary infection can be a reactivation of an inactive (latent) virus from a previous illness.
- Secondary encephalitis is a defective reaction of the immune system in response to infection. Instead of attacking only cells causing infection, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the brain as well.
Secondary encephalitis often occurs two to three weeks after the initial infection. It is rarely a complication of vaccination. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Common causes of encephalitis are as follows:
- Herpes virus. There are two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV). Either type can cause encephalitis. HSV type 1 (HSV-1) is usually responsible for colds or cold sores around the mouth. And HSV type 2 (HSV-2) usually causes genital herpes. Encephalitis caused by HSV-1 is rare, but it can cause significant brain damage or death.
- Other herpes viruses can cause encephalitis such as the Epstein-Barr virus, which usually causes infectious mononucleosis. And varicella-zoster virus, which usually causes chickenpox and shingles.
- These viruses include poliovirus and coxsackievirus, which usually cause illness with flu-like symptoms, eye inflammation, and abdominal pain.
- Viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. Parvoviruses or viruses transmitted by arthropods are transmitted by mosquitoes or other blood-sucking insects. Mosquitoes transfer the virus from a non-human host – such as a bird or a horse – to humans. Symptoms of an infection can appear a few days to a few weeks after exposure to an arbovirus.
- Viruses transmitted by ticks. Powassan virus is a known tick-borne virus that has caused encephalitis in the United States and Canada. Symptoms usually appear about a week after exposure to the virus.
- Rabies virus. Infection with the rabies virus, which is usually transmitted by a bite from an infected animal. This leads to rapid progression of encephalitis once symptoms start. Rabies is a rare cause of encephalitis in the United States.
- Childhood infections. Common childhood infections – such as measles, mumps, and rubella – were fairly common causes of secondary encephalitis. These causes are now rare due to vaccinations against these diseases. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Symptoms of encephalitis: Encephalitis meaning
Most people with viral encephalitis have the following symptoms:
- Aches in muscles or joints.
- Fatigue and drowsiness.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Neck stiffness.
- Fever Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
More serious cases require prompt medical attention. Encephalitis can get worse and cause other signs and symptoms such as:
- Confusion, agitation, or hallucinations.
- Loss of sensation or paralysis in certain areas of the face or body.
- Muscular weakness.
- Double vision.
- Perception of bad odors.
- Language or hearing problems.
- Loss of consciousness and memory. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Signs and symptoms in infants and young children may also include:
- Fontanel’s dug.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Body stiffness.
- Continuous crying.
- Bad nutrition.
Immediate care is essential if a person exhibits any of the symptoms associated with more severe cases of encephalitis. Severe headaches, fever, and altered consciousness require urgent care. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Prevention of encephalitis: Encephalitis meaning
The best way to prevent viral encephalitis is to take precautions to avoid exposure to viruses that can cause the disease:
- Have good hygiene. Wash hands frequently with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before and after meals.
- Teach children good hygiene habits.
- Get vaccinated or get these vaccines updated, especially before traveling to a country at risk. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Protection against mosquitoes and ticks
To minimize exposure to mosquitoes and ticks, the following tips should be followed:
- Dress for protection, such as wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Apply a mosquito repellent containing a recognized active ingredient (eg DEET, eucalyptus, or picaridin).
- Use an insecticide containing, for example, permethrin. These products, which repel and kill ticks and mosquitoes, are sprayed on clothing and tents. Permethrin should not be applied to the skin.
- Avoid mosquitoes. Refrain from unnecessary activities in places where mosquitoes are most prevalent. If possible, avoid being outside from dusk until dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Keep mosquitoes out of your home. Repair holes in windows and screens.
- Get rid of water sources outside your home. If possible, eliminate standing water in your garden, where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
- Look for external signs of viral illness. If you notice any sick or dying birds or animals, report them to local health departments. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Protection For Young Children: Encephalitis meaning
- Insecticides are not recommended for infants under 2 months of age. Instead, cover a baby carrier or stroller with a mosquito net.
- Always help children to use mosquito repellent.
- Spray clothing and exposed skin.
- Apply the insecticide outdoors to reduce the risk of inhaling the product.
- Spray a repellant on your hands, and then apply it to your child’s face. Take care of the eyes and ears.
- Do not use insecticide on the hands of young children as they can get their hands in their mouths. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Diagnosis of Encephalitis: Encephalitis meaning
Questions about symptoms, risk factors, and medical history are important in making a diagnosis of encephalitis. Diagnostic tests that may be necessary include the following:
- Neurological examination. This test will detect a confused and drowsy patient.
- Brain imaging. Brain imaging is often the first test if symptoms and patient history suggest the possibility of encephalitis. The images may reveal swelling of the brain. Another condition that can cause the same symptoms (for example a tumor). The technologies used are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Which can be useful for detecting changes in the structure of the brain, even a computed tomography (CT).
- Lumbar puncture. The doctor inserts a needle into the lower back to extract cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The protective fluid that surrounds the brain and spine. Changes in this fluid can reflect infection and inflammation in the brain. In some cases, CSF samples can be tested to identify the virus or another infectious agent.
- Other laboratory tests. Samples of blood or urine or excretions from the back of the throat. It can be tested for viruses or other infectious agents.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG). The doctor may order an EEG, a test in which a series of electrodes are placed on the scalp. The EEG records the electrical activity of the brain. Abnormal activity may be consistent with a diagnosis of encephalitis.
- Brain biopsy. This test, which takes a small sample of brain tissue. Is only used when symptoms worsen and treatments have no effect. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Risk factors of encephalitis: Encephalitis meaning
Anyone can develop encephalitis. Factors that can increase the risk of the disease include:
- Certain types of encephalitis are more common or more severe in certain age groups. In general, young children and the elderly are at greater risk of most types of viral encephalitis. Herpes virus encephalitis tends to be more common in people between the ages of 20 and 40.
- A weakened immune system. People with AIDS, those taking antidepressant medications. Or suffering from another condition that suppresses the immune system are at increased risk of encephalitis.
- Viruses transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks are common in some geographic areas.
- Season of the year. Mosquito and tick-borne diseases tend to be more prevalent in the spring, summer. And early fall in many countries such as the United States. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Treatments of encephalitis: Encephalitis meaning
Treatment of mild cases includes:
- Bed rest.
- To drink a lot.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen relieve headaches and fever.
- Cases of encephalitis caused by certain viruses usually require intravenous antiviral treatment. Antiviral drugs commonly used to treat encephalitis include acyclovir and ganciclovir. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Some viruses, such as viruses transmitted by insects, do not respond to these treatments. However, since the specific virus may not or may not be identified immediately, treatment with acyclovir is often started immediately. This medication may be effective against the herpes virus.
Side effects of antiviral drugs can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle or joint pain. Serious problems can include abnormal kidney or liver function or suppression of bone marrow activity. Appropriate tests are used to monitor serious side effects. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Additional hospital care is also needed for people with severe encephalitis. This care can include:
- Breathing support, as well as careful monitoring of breathing and cardiac function.
- Intravenous fluids to ensure proper hydration and proper levels of essential minerals.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids, to reduce pressure in the skull, especially in post-infectious (secondary) encephalitis.
- Anticonvulsant drugs such as phenytoin stop or prevent seizures. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Follow-up therapy of encephalitis: Encephalitis meaning
After treatment for the condition. It may be necessary to receive additional therapy depending on the type and severity of the complications. This therapy may include:
- Physiotherapy to improve strength, flexibility, balance, motor coordination, and mobility.
- Therapy to develop daily skills.
- Speech rehabilitation.
- Behavioral psychotherapy to reduce mood disorders or resolve personality changes, accompanied by drug treatment if necessary. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
Vaccine: Encephalitis meaning
The vaccination against TBE is recommended for travelers to stay in rural or forested in endemic regions. (Central, eastern and northern, north of central Asia, northern China, and northern Japan) from spring to autumn. “Two injections are necessary one month apart, specifies the doctor. Read more about encephalitis meaning from here.
A reminder at 12 months. It is not reimbursed by Health Insurance “. The Japanese encephalitis vaccine consists of 2 doses and a booster at 12 months. It is recommended for travelers when staying in an endemic area. Vaccination against MMR as well as shingles prevents the onset of viral encephalitis.