Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain; the brain mass. Nerve cells or the white matter of the brains are directly damaged.

Encephalitis is usually caused by a virus, sometimes by a bacterium. Often after or during a viral infection elsewhere in the body. Also known as a reaction of the immune system, even after vaccination.

The distinction between meningitis is blurred, because often the meninges are inflamed too with encephalitis.


The disease usually begins with a high fever and symptoms of flu. Within a few days the patient gets severe symptoms like seizures, unconsciousness, hemiplegia, visual disturbances and aphasia.

This leads to rapid referral from the GP to the emergency room. If the disease is treated it takes weeks until someone can leave the hospital.

Often there exists damage to the brains, such as problems with thinking, weakness of limbs and gait disturbances, so that the patient must be purchased.  The recovery and revalidation then often takes months to complete.


Danger of swelling of the brains:

The brains are protected in the hard shell, the skull. When the brains swell by inflammation, the skull cannot be pressed away and makes the swollen brains to find a different direction.

This allows them to press down on the brain stem. From this section of the brains vital functions such as breathing and heart rate are controlled.

If this situation is left untreated, the intracranial pressure rises and the brainstem can cease to function, and the patient may die. Therefore it is important that medical action is taken soon. 


The symptoms may include:

high fever
flu-like symptoms (fever, headache)
severe headache
nausea and vomiting
obtundation / coma
(muscle) weakness
eye muscle paralysis
problems with vision / double vision
epilepsy / seizures


Some variations  of encephalitis:
Herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) or also called herpes encephalitis. HSE is a viral encephalitis that is usually caused by the herpes virus / cold sore virus (although a cold sore does not give an encephalitis) The frontal lobe and temporal lobe may be affected because the virus often enters through the nose.

  • Brain Abscess by pus in the brains at a fixed position in the brain tissue,
  • Lyme disease,
  • Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE, RSEE or CEE) is an illness that can develop after a tick bite,
  • Encephalitis Lethargica, also known as sleepy sickness, described by Oliver Sacks in the book Awakenings. Sleepy sickness is an atypical form of encephalitis. Between 1915 and 1926, a worldwide epidemic form of the disease occured. It attacks the brain and may cause patients to become motionless or speachless. The disease differs from Sleeping sickness which is transmitted by the tsetse fly and occurs mainly in some regions of sub-saharan Africa,
  • HIV encephalitis, in AIDS and HIV occurs in patients with infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Symptoms can range from listlessness, lethargy to coma. Coordination disorders and difficulty walking to paralysis (severe) cognitive symptoms including memory loss and epilepsy,
  • Creutzfeld Jacob, a type of protein caused by prions,
  • Japanese encephalitis, a virus caused by mosquitoes that are found almost everywhere in Asia. After a sting from an infected mosquito, virus development occurs both near the sting and in the regional lymph nodes. Then the virus spreads to the nervous system. Not everyone gets ill.
    Complaints may include: High fever, abdominal pain, nausea, muscle pain, extreme headache, stiff neck, sometimes arm and leg pain, convulsions, hallucinations, paralysis and consciousness disturbances followed by speech and movement problems. The infection can develop into encephalitis, meningitis (meningitis) and / or inflammation of the spinal cord. In particular, this can occur in young children aged 3 to 6 years and the elderly. The infected person cannot infect other people, this can only be transmitted by a mosquito.
  • Anti NMDA receptor encephalitis is brain inflammation caused by the body's own antibodies. These antibodies attack the body as if it were a bacterium (autoimmune reaction). A neuroblastoma or ovarian tumor is also found in some children with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. A neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that starts from the autonomic or sympathetic nervous system. Read more about anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis ...

Long-term consequences of encephalitis / encephalopathy:

The effects differ considerably from what part of the brains was the infection. See the page on which functions are in different parts of the brain.

But also the age of influence as well as the severity of the infection.

Some forms are very mild and some much more serious. A plurality of various complaints is mentioned. Someone can keep as sequelae of these serious infections:

epilepsy by scar tissue,
altered sleep pattern
memory problems
altered eating patterns
irritability and apathy (also called a postencefalitic syndrome )
changes in sexual behavior.
behavior of putting all kinds of objects in the mouth

This site will refrain from general statements. Your doctor can tell you more.


Postencephalitic Syndrome:

Postencephalitic Syndrome is a condition which affects the behavior of a person after they suffer damage to their nerves or brain because of a viral or bacterial infection. Treatment including behavioral therapy and counseling can be really helpful for dealing with everything associated with postencephalitic syndrome.


Symptoms of postencephalistic syndrome may include:

A general malaise or sense of apathy

Irritability, irritation

Learning difficulties and struggling to hold the scholar

Altered sleeping and eating

Change in sexual behavior

Reduced social assessment skills

Fascination of placing objects in the mouth 

Fascination with objects in the vicinity

Emotionally calm, tranquility




Lyme disease (Borrelia burdorferi)
Ticks are tiny animals, but they can be carriers of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

A tick bite is often contracted by walking or playing in tall grass or shrubs where ticks are hiding. When the tick is removed within 24 hours, the chances are very small that Lyme disease will occur.

The bacteria will multiply in the bloodstream, in the infected body. The first symptoms will appear such as rash in the shape of growing red rings with a red spot within two to three weeks after the tick bite.

It is important to recognize early signs of Lyme disease, in order to stop the disease at an early stage.

The disease can give chronic joint inflammation, disorders of the skin, nervous system and heart.

If the infection is present in the nervous system the disease is called neuroborreliosis.

Meningitis (meningitis), inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), nerve root inflammation, facial nerve palsy (facial palsy) may be a consequence.