Encephalitis: Symptoms and Treatment

Encephalitis is an inflammatory lesion of the brain. As a rule, the progression of this dangerous pathology in children and adults is provoked by infectious agents. Clinicians distinguish primary and secondary encephalitis of the brain. The primary progresses on its own, while the secondary develops against a background of various ailments — measles, toxoplasmosis, influenza, etc.

The primary forms of encephalitis include the following forms:

  • mosquito;
  • Tick-borne
  • epidemic or lethargic encephalitis;
  • viral encephalitis
  • Herpes.

Encephalitis of the brain is characterized by the manifestation of cerebral symptoms, intoxication syndrome, and also by the defeat of one or several parts of the brain. It is worth noting that each type of pathology has its own «favorite» localization.

Encephalitis is a very dangerous pathology that has no limitations with regard to sex and age. It can develop in both children and adults. Therefore it is important at the first signs, indicating the progression of pathology, immediately go to a medical institution for diagnosis and treatment. If adequate therapy is not carried out, the consequences of encephalitis can be deplorable.


A common cause of the progression of encephalitis is neuroinfection. It should be noted that the etiology of the disease depends on its type. So, the reasons for the progression of viral encephalitis are: the bite of infected insects (mosquitoes or mites are usually carriers), penetration of the virus of influenza, herpes, and rabies into the body. The microbial types of the disease provoke syphilis or typhus.

Secondary species develop against the background:

  1. malaria
  2. Measles
  3. rubella;
  4. toxoplasmosis;
  5. chicken pox and the like.

Ways of penetration of the virus into the human body:

  • Insect bite (hematogenous path)
  • with direct contact
  • alimentary path;
  • airborne path.


Symptoms of encephalitis depend on several factors:

  1. an infectious agent
  2. features of the pathological process;
  3. the location of the lesion.

But clinicians identify the symptoms that are common to all forms of encephalitis. Since encephalitis is an infectious pathology, it is characterized by a pronounced intoxication syndrome. There are also the following symptoms:

  • temperature rise to critical values ​​
  • disruption of the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract
  • headache;
  • vomiting;
  • a characteristic symptom is the occurrence of epileptic seizures



In the medical literature, this species is also called lethargic encephalitis A. This type affects both adults and children alike. The first symptom of the disease is a rapid rise in temperature to critical temperatures of up to 40 degrees. The patient notes that there was a severe headache, as well as a pain syndrome in the region of the joints. With lethargic encephalitis, there may be a violation of consciousness. Gradually the clinical picture is supplemented by such signs:

  1. hypersomnia;
  2. tachycardia
  3. increased sweating
  4. impaired respiratory function
  5. Strabismus
  6. Dystopia
  7. the patient begins to rave.

Lethargic encephalitis is very dangerous, as it develops rapidly and can lead to the patient’s death, if timely not to conduct adequate therapy. Treatment of patients with this diagnosis is carried out in a hospital setting so that the doctors can constantly monitor their overall condition. Lethargic encephalitis is one of the forms that are diagnosed most often.

Tick-borne encephalitis

This type refers to primary viral encephalitis. As a rule, it is diagnosed in the spring-summer season. The virus is transmitted with the bite of an infected tick, which lives in the forests. The disease is diagnosed in adults and children. It is worth noting that it is children who are at risk, because they like to play in gardens, forests and other «green zones». Getting into the body, a virus with a blood stream reaches the target organ — the brain, where it begins to actively develop. The patient has the following symptoms:

  • Photophobia
  • headache;
  • vomiting. It is worth noting that eliminating vomiting is very difficult;
  • fever (to critical levels)
  • paralysis of the muscular structures of the neck.

Japanese encephalitis

The carrier of the infection is an infected mosquito. The incubation period is from three to 27 days. Symptoms of the disease:

  1. fever (over 40 degrees)
  2. chills;
  3. nausea;
  4. vomiting;
  5. pain syndrome
  6. impaired consciousness
  7. twitching of legs and arms
  8. Seizures with convulsions
  9. children often suffer from cranial nerve damage.

The percentage of mortality is quite high. Most often, patients die in the first week of progression of pathology.

Influenza form

Progresses against the background of the flu. It is diagnosed in adults and children. Main symptoms:

  • headache;
  • weakness;
  • drowsiness;
  • fever;
  • weight loss;
  • nausea and vomiting.

Often, this type of viral encephalitis leads to coma.

Measles encephalitis

This form of pathology is more often diagnosed in children, as it progresses a few days after measles rash (measles is a childhood illness).

The patient’s condition gradually worsens, fever, weakness, and sopor are observed. But this clinical picture is not always observed. There are cases when the patient, on the contrary, is aroused, raves, and he has epileptic seizures. This type of pathology affects the cranial nerves, which leads to transverse myelitis, paralysis or chorea.

Veterinary encephalitis

A varicose type of pathology is observed against the background of chicken pox. More often the disease is diagnosed in children. As the progression of varicella encephalitis progresses, the CNS is affected. The patient becomes sluggish, he constantly tends to sleep. Later there is paralysis of the limbs, epileptic seizures. A characteristic feature of the varicella type of the disease is a violation of coordination of movements.

Treatment should be performed as soon as possible, as the wind-encephalitis can lead to irreversible consequences.

Herpetic type

The causative agent of pathology is the herpes virus. The main «target» is the cortex of the brain. Rapid flow for this type is not typical. Main symptoms:

  1. fever;
  2. vomiting;
  3. headache;
  4. impaired consciousness

As the disease progresses, the clinic is supplemented by such symptoms:

  • Human movements are chaotic;
  • aphasia;
  • Apraxia.


Diagnosis and treatment of the disease in children and adults engaged in infectious disease doctor. If the diagnosis was confirmed, the patient is immediately placed in the hospital, in the infectious disease department. Strict bed rest is shown. The patient’s condition is constantly monitored.

The treatment plan is developed strictly individually, taking into account a variety of pathology, the severity of the course, as well as the general condition of the patient. In the case of diagnosis of Japanese or tick-borne encephalitis, the patient is prescribed gamma globulin and other antiviral drugs. Antibiotics in the treatment plan are included in purulent processes. It is shown to carry out detoxication therapy.

The treatment plan can be supplemented with such preparations:

  1. Trental
  2. glucocorticosteroids (treatment of cerebral edema)
  3. anticonvulsants
  4. analgesics.


Treatment of the disease does not have to be done, if in time to do the prevention of pathology. One of the most effective methods of protection is vaccination against encephalitis. Of course, it can not protect against the bite of an infected insect, but it will save from the consequences. The active substance in the vaccine is a non-living virus of encephalitis. He is injected into the bloodstream, where he is recognized by the immune system and begins to actively develop antibodies to it.

Most often, doctors inject patients with a cultured purified concentrated inactivated dry vaccine. It can be administered to children from 3 years old, as well as adults. But there are some contraindications:

  • You can not administer a vaccine against encephalitis in the presence of acute ailments. It is allowed to vaccinate only one month after full recovery;
  • the contraindication to vaccination is the bearing of the child
  • do not make the vaccine to people who have already been vaccinated less than a month ago;
  • food allergy is also a contraindication for vaccination, as it is also an allergy to medicines
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • chronic ailments that are in an aggravation stage at the time of vaccination.

Contraindications are important to consider, since if you get vaccinated with at least one of these conditions, you can provoke a worsening of the general condition.