ABC Medical Center > Encephalitis

What is Encephalitis?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is an inflammatory process of the brain, mainly due to the presence of viral or bacterial infections, which can cause the destruction of neurons, bleeding, and brain damage.

Young people and older adults are the most vulnerable segment of the population with severe cases of this disease. The causes vary, but infections can be due to:

  • Cysticercosis.
  • Lyme’s disease.
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insect bites.
  • Allergic reaction to vaccines.
  • Syphilis.
  • Toxoplasmosis.
  • AIDS.

The herpes simplex virus is the most common at any age, including newborns, but others can also cause encephalitis, such as mumps, polio, rabies, rubella, measles, tuberculosis, and chickenpox.

There are two types of encephalitis:

  • Primary: when the infection is located in the brain.
  • Secondary: when the immune system attacks brain cells as an erratic reaction to an infection located in another part of the body.

Signs and symptoms Encephalitis

The characteristic symptoms consist of:

  • Weakness.
  • Tiredness.
  • Headache.
  • High fever.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Somnolescence.
  • Neck and back stiffness.
  • Light sensitivity.

In the case of babies, the typical signs are:

  • Food deficiency.
  • Bulging fontanelle.
  • Irritability and constant crying.
  • Body stiffness.
  • Vomit.

In cases of medical emergency:

  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.
  • Intense migraine
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Paralysis in the face and other body areas.
  • Lack of clarity.
  • Loss of consciousness that can lead to a coma.
  • Hearing and expression difficulties.

Diagnosis and treatment Encephalitis

Once the doctor analyzes your symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical examination and diagnostic tests such as MRI, CT, and electroencephalogram, as well as a lumbar puncture, a cerebrospinal fluid culture, and a brain biopsy. They will also request blood and urine tests, as well as serology tests.

The indicated treatment will depend on the origin of the encephalitis, but, in general, it consists of the administration of medications that help reduce the inflammation, stop the seizures and lessen the symptoms.

If the brain is severely damaged, physical therapy and rehabilitation sessions will also be necessary, as well as psychological and occupational therapies, as applicable.

At the Neurological Center, a select group of highly trained and certified doctors in the various neurological specialties are ready to assist you with the quality and warmth that characterizes us.

Nervous system specialties

  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Spine surgery
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Neurophysiology
  • Neuro-rehabilitation
  • Neuro-pathology
  • Interventional neuro-radiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Neuro-otology
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Neuroimaging


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  • Coto FF, Murillo BF, Rocha MSM. Encefalitis por Toxoplasma gondii en pacientes con virus de la inmunodeficiencia humana. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2021;6(10):.
  • Gandarilla-Martínez NA, Martínez-Díaz BA, Espinosa-Aguilar L, et al. Movimientos anormales en un paciente con encefalitis límbica: reporte de caso y revisión de la literatura. Rev Neurol Neurocir Psiquiat. 2021;49(1):14-18. doi:10.35366/101750.
  • Pizarro AG, Garnier FJC, Orozco GR. Generalidades sobre encefalitis viral aguda. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2021;6(08):5-8.

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