Encephalitis means an inflammation of the brain. The symptoms consist of either gradual or sudden headache, fever, drowsiness, lethargy, and coma. In infants, convulsions may occur.
Sometimes bizarre symptoms such as hyperactivity, nervousness, mental disorders, palsies, speechdisorders, weakness, instability, and reflex changes are seen.
Encephalitis, like meningitis, may be caused by many different organisms. Some of them are: the virus of measles, infectious mononucleosis, insect-borne viruses, entero viruses, herpes, mumps, and smallpox virus. Other forms are: influenzal virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, St. Louis encephalitis, equine encephalitis. epidemic encephalitis, Von Economo’s disease (encephalitis lethargica). There is no specific treatment for these diseases. However, patients should be in the hospital for supportive and symptomatic treatment.
Encephalitis may resemble poisonings with various metals such as lead, insecticides, etc., and drug intoxications, such as bromides. etc. In these cases, however, there is usually no fever.