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- Viruses carried by mosquitoes such as West Nile or Eastern equine encephalitis
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
- Chickenpox virus
- Influenza virus
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
- Polio virus
- Measles virus
- Mumps virus
- Living, working, or playing in an area where mosquito-borne viruses are common
Not being immunized against diseases, such as:
- A suppressed immune system caused by certain medications, or health conditions, such as HIV infection
- Having cancer—sometimes immune system overactivity may be the first sign of cancer
- Weakness, severe fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
- Stiff neck and back
- Muscle aches
- Changes in consciousness
- Personality changes
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Progressive drowsiness
- Trouble walking
- Trouble speaking
- Trouble swallowing
- Blood tests
- Lumbar puncture—to evaluate cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain
- CT scan and/or MRI scan—to evaluate internal structures of the head
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)— to look for abnormal electrical activity in the brain
- Brain biopsy—removal of a small sample of brain tissue to test for signs of infection
- Antiviral drugs to shorten the duration of the illness
- Steroids to reduce brain inflammation
- Diuretics to decrease elevated intracranial pressure
- Intubation with hyperventilation to decrease elevated intracranial pressure, and to maintain respiration and ventilation
- Anticonvulsants to prevent and/or treat seizures
- Make sure that you and your children are vaccinated against preventable viral illnesses
Protect yourself from mosquito bites
- Fix window screens
- Drain standing water around your home
- Wear long clothes after dark
- Use repellent when you are outside
- Use proper mosquito netting at night. Look for netting treated with insecticide.
Encephalitis Information Resource http://www.encephalitis.info
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation http://www.cnsfederation.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Herpes simplex encephalitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com. Updated February 21, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2014.
California encephalitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com. Updated February 21, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2014.
Eastern equine encephalitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com. Updated September 19, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2014.
NINDS meningitis and encephalitis information page. National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/encephalitis%5Fmeningitis/encephalitis%5Fmeningitis.htm. Updated April 16, 2014. Accessed May 1, 2014.
West Nile virus infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com. Updated August 9, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2014.
10/1/2013 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com. Reimer LJ, Thomsen EK, Tisch DJ, et al. Insecticidal bed nets and filariasis transmission in Papua New Guinea. N Eng J Med. 2013 Aug 22; 369(8):745-53.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014 -
- Update Date: 00/53/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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