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Types of encephalitis: A Mayo Clinic expert explains

Deb Balzer, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

Encephalitis is a disease referring to the inflammation or swelling of the brain. Broadly, it can happen because of infections, including viral infections, or the immune system acting up.

That's why Dr. Sarosh Irani, a Mayo Clinic neurologist and researcher, says it's essential to recognize World Encephalitis Day.

"A number of physicians, and certainly the public, are not aware of encephalitis as an entity. Yet, it is a medical emergency, where we know that early treatment makes a major difference to our patients, both with infectious forms of the disease and the growing — and perhaps now more common — autoimmune forms of the disease," Dr. Irani says.

Types of encephalitis

The two main types or divisions of encephalitis are infectious and autoimmune. In some cases, the exact cause of encephalitis remains unidentified.

Important things to know about infectious encephalitis:

 

•It's caused by viruses invading the brain, such as herpes and enteroviruses.

•Mosquitoes and ticks can also transmit viruses which can cause encephalitis.

•Symptoms develop quickly, over days to weeks.

Most people with infectious encephalitis start with symptoms such as headache and fever. These can progress to more severe symptoms within hours to days, such as confusion, personality changes, seizures, and loss of sensation or movement in specific body areas.

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©2024 Mayo Clinic News Network. Visit newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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