by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Encephalitis is swelling of the brain.
Encephalitis can often be caused by an infection. Some common ones are:
It can also be caused by a problem with the immune system, such as a prior infection in the body or a tumor.
Some things that may raise the risk of encephalitis are:
Symptoms may range from mild to severe. They may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Blood tests will be done to look for signs of infection. A lumbar puncture may be done to test the fluid around the spine.
Images may be taken of the brain to look for changes. This can be done with:
There are not many ways to treat viruses. They take time to leave the body. Most treatment will focus on supporting the body until the virus has passed.
These medicines may be given:
To lower your chances of getting encephalitis:
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation
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Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 8/11/2020