Encephalitis literally translates to “inflammation of the brain” from Greek origins of the word. This gives us a complete picture of the kind of area the disease affects, which is primarily the brain. Encephalitis is often linked to meningitis and may result at the same time in humans.
The causes of Encephalitis are varied including viral and bacterial infections.Viral infections like the ones caused by the Rabies virus or the measles virus are common and are potent causes of Encephalitis. The disease may even be cause by a bacterial infection like the one cause by the meningitis bacteria. It can also be caused by certain protozoa or parasites. Encephalitis also attacks the limbic system causing Limbic System Encephalitis or even the autoimmune system in some humans.
The diagnosis of Encephalitis is somewhat tricky because traditional methods like CT Scan does not reveal informative results. Although modern methods like Magnetic resonance imaging offers better results, the diagnosis of Encephalitis is usually done with an examination of the cerebrospinal fluid retrieved by a lumbar puncture.
The treatment of Encephalitis is usually carried out by medically administered drugs like antiviral agents and antibiotics in some cases such as meningoencephalitis. Patients who are at final stages of the disease and are acutely affected may need ventilation to support the normal functioning of the organs of the body. Sometimes sedatives and painkillers are required to be given to patients who complain of pain and dizziness.
Vaccination against some types of Encephalitis is the only method of prevention against this disease. People who are at risk of getting affected by the Encephalitis virus or bacteria are only inoculated otherwise it is not required.
The prognosis of Encephalitis shows us that there have been a considerable number of deaths due to the disease when it has manifested itself as complicated cases of Encephalitis, but it may not be fatal always.
Encephalitis may be transmitted from mother to child also, which is a prenatal method of transmission. Generally it is a viral infection that causes Encephalitis although a bacterial infection may be the reason in some cases also.