Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue. The most common cause is viral infections. In rare cases it can be caused by bacteria or even fungi.
There are two main types of encephalitis: primary and secondary. Primary encephalitis occurs when a virus directly infects the brain and spinal cord. Secondary encephalitis occurs when an infection starts elsewhere in the body and then travels to your brain.
Encephalitis is a rare yet serious disease that can be life-threatening. You should call your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of encephalitis.
What are the symptoms of encephalitis?
The symptoms of encephalitis can range from mild to severe.
Mild symptoms include:
- stiff neck
- lethargy (exhaustion)
Severe symptoms include:
- fever of 103°F (39.4°C) or higher
- slower movements
- sensitivity to light
Infants and young children show different symptoms. Call a doctor immediately if your child is experiencing any of the following:
- bulging fontanel (soft spot in the scalp)
- constant crying
- body stiffness
- poor appetite