Encephalitis is not a very common illness. But if you become infected with the disease it causes the brain tissue to swell and become inflamed. In rare cases the infection can attack both the brain cells and central nervous system in the spinal cord.
The disease is treatable and most people make a full recovery once treatment begins. The disease is common in the elderly and children and anyone with a weakened immune system.
Causes of Encephalitis
Encephalitis is most commonly caused by a virus and is a secondary infection as a result of another virus. It can develop either after the primary virus or at the same time.
Other viral infections that can result in encephalitis could be the result of having the flu, measles, mumps, herpes, chickenpox, shingles, and rubella. It should be noted that there are other viral infections that can also cause the disease. If you have a viral infection, just ask your health care provider if you are at risk for encephalitis.
Symptoms of Encephalitis
The symptoms can overlap with the main infection the body is currently fighting off. These symptoms can include headache, fever, dizziness, blurred vision and body aches. Once encephalitis has infected the brain fully, other symptoms that can be displayed by an infected person include tiredness, weakness, fatigue, seizures, abnormal personality and behavior.
If a person does not have a history of seizures and has recently had a viral infection, and seizures begin, most likely it is an indication of encephalitis. Behavioral and personality changes could be quick mood changes from happy to sad to angry for no underlying reason. In rare cases where the cause of the disease was brought on by herpes, if it is left untreated, the infected person could faint, go into a coma and even die.
Diagnosis of Encephalitis
As with any disease, the early it is detected the sooner a treatment schedule can be prescribed. There are a number of different tests that your health care provider can prescribe in order to determine if you are infected with this disease. They may run urine and blood tests to isolate the virus. If those tests do not provide sufficient results, they may even order a MRI or CT scan.
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