Overview of Encephalitis
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. It can be of different types depending on the causative agent. Certain autoimmune disorder, bacterial infections or presence of tumor can lead to encephalitis. Viral encephalitis is caused by Herpes simplex virus and is termed as herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE). HSE lead to cerebral dysfunction. There are two types of encephalitis, primary encephalitis and secondary encephalitis. Primary encephalitis occurs due to viral infection that affect the brain and spinal cord. Secondary encephalitis is caused by a viral infection that effects other part of the body and ultimately spread to the brain. If left undiagnosed and untreated, encephalitis is a life threatening condition.
Causes and Risk Factors of Encephalitis
There are two forms of Herpes simplex virus, HSV1 and HSV2. HSV1 causes infection of throat and mouth and is a prevalent virus. Once entered in the body, the virus has the ability to become latent and hide in ganglia. In certain cases, the virus can enter the brain through nerves or through blood, leading to encephalitis. Encephalitis can occur as a result of secondary infection or post infections, such as influenza, glandular fever, measles, chicken pox, mumps, rubella and HIV infection. Another form of encephalitis known as the Japanese encephalitis (JEV) is caused by a virus that spread through mosquito bite. Tick-borne encephalitis is spread by bites of blood sucking ticks that transfer the virus into the body and lead to encephalitis. Individuals of all ages and sex are likely to be at risk of suffering from encephalitis of any kind, but children and elderly are at more risk of the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Encephalitis
Some of the commonly present symptoms of encephalitis include headache, fever, stiffness of neck, rigidity of backbone, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, fatigue, confusion, seizures, weakness of muscles, vision problems, difficulty in hearing and speaking, memory loss, paralysis, reduced consciousness, drowsiness and coma.