Image for Viral encephalitis
Viral encephalitis

Related Terms

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Background

  • Encephalitis literally means brain infection. Strictly speaking, "-itis" means inflammation, which includes redness, swelling, pain, and warmth, and can be due to infection or other types of irritation. The brain can become infected with many different germs, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The symptoms of encephalitis include fever, chills, headache, altered mental status (confusion, delirium, and agitation), stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, seizures, coma (unconsciousness), and death. Viral brain infections are rarely as serious as other kinds of encephalitis.
  • Japanese encephalitis (JE), St. Louis encephalitis (SLE), and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) are all caused by viruses in the flavivirus group. The viruses of these diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks. Each virus is particular to certain regions of the world. The following geographical distributions are typical for each disease: Japanese encephalitis is found in Asia and Australia; St. Louis encephalitis is found in North, Central, and South America. Tick-borne encephalitis is found in Europe and Asia.
  • JE can be a risk to travelers in rural areas of Japan, where there are 30,000 to 50,000 cases annually. Fewer than one case per year is reported in Americans traveling to or working in Asia. Birds and domestic pigs can carry the virus. Symptoms appear six to eight days after the mosquito bite. JE kills roughly 30% of its victims. Another 30% will have serious and permanent brain damage. A vaccine known as Japanese encephalitis virus vaccine is available, but it is expensive and occasionally causes significant side effects. Ten percent of patients report fever, headache, malaise, rash, and other reactions such as chills, dizziness, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Twenty percent report pain at the injection site. A few suffer generalized allergic reactions.
  • SLE is similar to West Nile virus, LaCrosse virus, and eastern and western equine encephalitis. Birds can carry the virus. Symptoms appear five to 15 days after the mosquito bite. It kills 5% to 30% of its victims. Between 1964 and 2005, 4651 cases were reported in the United States. It occurs most often in warmer weather, when mosquitoes abound.
  • Further content available for subscribers only.

Types of the Disease

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Risk Factors

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Causes

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Diagnosis

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Complications

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Treatment

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Integrative Therapies

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Prevention

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Research

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Future Research

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Author Information

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.