What is encephalitis?
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue. Its symptoms include:
What is meningitis?
What are the causes of encephalitis and meningitis?
Encephalitis can be autoimmune encephalitis as well. The inflammation in autoimmune encephalitis is caused by the attack of healthy cells of the body by the body’s immune system. Meningitis caused by an autoimmune component is not yet reported.
Encephalitis can also be caused by arboviruses—types of viruses that are transmitted through the bites of ticks and mosquitoes. Types of such encephalitis include West Nile virus, Eastern equine, and rabid (caused by rabies) encephalitis.
How are encephalitis and meningitis diagnosed?
Apart from the medical history, signs, and symptoms, diagnosis of meningitis and encephalitis requires:
- Neurological examination
- Blood tests
- Imaging tests such as computerized tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging
- Examination of cerebrospinal fluid (a fluid present in the brain and spinal cord)
Encephalitis may require additional tests for its diagnosis. These include:
- Electroencephalography (placing of electric, metal discs on your head to measure the electrical activity in your brain)
- Brain biopsy (surgical removal of brain tissue for examining it under a microscope)
How do doctors treat encephalitis and meningitis?
Encephalitis and meningitis are life-threatening conditions that require you to be hospitalized immediately.
The treatment of bacterial forms of meningitis and encephalitis involves a course of antibiotics.
The antivirals may be started by the doctor for viral encephalitis. The medication for control of fits and dexamethasone to control brain swelling may be given.
Viral meningitis can be treated with antiviral and antiinflammatory medications.
Can encephalitis and meningitis be prevented?
The vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR vaccine) has been seen working against encephalitis. But there is no vaccine against encephalitis caused by ticks. Though not available in the United States, it is available in Europe and Canada. The vaccine is advised for people who travel to those European regions, where tick-borne encephalitis is prevalent.
Several vaccines are available against meningitis. These include:
To avoid mosquito- or tick bites, people should
- Restrict outdoor activities at night.
- Wear long-sleeved clothing when outdoors.
- Use insect repellents.
- Get rid of stagnant water lying in the lawn areas.
What is the recovery rate for meningitis and encephalitis?
The time required to recover from encephalitis and meningitis depends on:
- The type of microbe
- The severity of the disease
- How quickly treatment is given
People with very mild encephalitis or meningitis can make a full recovery, although the process may be slow. Extremely severe cases may result in fatalities. Individuals with mild symptoms may recover in 15-30 days. The acute phase of encephalitis with severe symptoms may last for one to two weeks, with a gradual or sudden resolution of fever and neurological symptoms over the next few weeks. Individuals treated for bacterial meningitis typically show improvements in two to three days, though full recovery takes time. In serious cases, these diseases can cause permanent hearing loss, speech loss, blindness, memory loss, a decline in mental abilities, and seizures. Physical therapy and rehabilitation may be needed in many people to tackle residual damage to the body parts. The mortality rates differ from 20 to 75% depending on the offending organism and whether the encephalitis was treated on time or left untreated.
Latest Health and Living News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Meningitis and Encephalitis Fact Sheet. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Meningitis-and-Encephalitis-Fact-Sheet
Tick-borne Encephalitis. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/tickborne-encephalitis
Top Encephalitis vs Meningitis: Differences Related Articles
Dementia Foods: Foods that May Lower Dementia RiskWhat foods are associated with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia? Cognitive function is predicated on good nutrition. Learn how vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like fish can lead to a healthier brain. Discover why foods that stave off heart disease are good for brain function.
EncephalitisEncephalitis is a brain inflammation that causes sudden fever, vomiting, headache, light sensitivity, stiff neck and back, drowsiness, and irritability. Treatment may incorporate anticonvulsants and antiviral medications.
What Is Enterovirus (Non-Polio Enterovirus Infection)?Non-polio enteroviruses cause a variety of infections, including aseptic meningitis, hand, foot, and mouth disease, herpangina, and the common cold. Symptoms and signs of enterovirus infection include hypoxia, eye pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fever. Treatment involves supportive care to reduce symptoms.
Fungal MeningitisFungal meningitis is a rare disease that is not contagious. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment involves administering high doses of antifungal medications.
How Do You Get Bacterial Meningitis?Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Learn more about the signs of bacterial meningitis, what causes bacterial meningitis, when to see a doctor, and how to treat bacterial meningitis.
How Is a Lumbar Puncture Procedure Done?In a lumbar puncture (LP) procedure, or spinal tap, a hollow needle is inserted near the spinal cord to collect a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which can then help diagnose infections (meningitis), hemorrhage, multiple sclerosis, and tumors.
How Long Does the Meningitis Vaccine Last?Learn how the meningitis vaccine works and how long it is effective.
How Quickly Does Meningitis Progress?Meningitis is an infection of the meninges or coverings of the brain. This serious illness can progress very quickly and have lifelong consequences. So, it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible. The most frequent cause of meningitis is a viral or bacterial infection. Rarely, a fungus can cause it.
Is Meningitis Contagious?Meningitis, inflammation of the meninges, symptoms and signs include neck stiffness, headache, and fever. There are five types of meningitis: viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and noninfectious.
MeningitisMeningitis is inflammation of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain. Symptoms include fever, headache, and a stiff neck. Treatment of meningitis depends upon the cause of the infection and may include antibiotics or antiviral medications.
Meningitis QuizWhat is meningitis and what causes it? Take our Meningitis Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, treatments, and complications of this potentially life-threatening disease.
What Are the 3 Types of Meningitis?Meningitis is a serious condition that needs medical attention. Learn about the 3 types of meningitis, what causes meningitis, how doctors diagnose meningitis, and how meningitis is treated.