ALERT

For the latest coronavirus care instructions and resources, please call our COVID-19 hotline at 208-381-9500. Find additional information and resources here and learn more about how we’re working to keep you healthy and safe.

toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation

Supplemental

Menu

Encephalitis

Encephalitis

Encephalitis is an inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the brain that is usually the result of a viral infection. If not treated immediately, encephalitis can alter brain function and become life-threatening.

The most common symptoms of encephalitis are fever, severe headache, and confusion. Other symptoms may develop, such as sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck and back, and drowsiness. Sometimes severe symptoms develop, such as seizures, tremors, personality changes, and even coma. In general, symptoms that develop suddenly and are serious from the start usually mean a more severe, life-threatening form of encephalitis.

Encephalitis is most often caused by a virus, such as the virus that causes cold sores and genital herpes (herpes simplex), mumps, measles, chickenpox, mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), influenza, or German measles (rubella). Although very rare in the United States, encephalitis may be spread by infected mosquitoes and ticks.

Treatment usually includes hospitalization and use of the antiviral medicine acyclovir along with supportive care for symptoms.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Healthwise is a URAC accredited health web site content provider. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.