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Encephalitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treamtmet

What is Encephalitis?

Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) is a viral infection of the brain tissue. It can spread to the meninges, causing meningitis .


Inflammation of the brain causes headaches, fever, you become drowsy, have changed their behavior and one can get paralysis of facial muscles or the muscles of the arms or legs. Rarely do you get cramps.

How does the disease?

Encephalitis often begins with flu-like symptoms for a few days, but it can also begin rather abruptly. 
Encephalitis often lasts several weeks and is a serious disease that requires hospitalization. You can have permanent brain damage or die from encephalitis. 

Who gets the disease?

Anyone can get meningitis, but it is a rare disease which affects less than 100 people per year in Denmark. 

How contagious encephalitis?

There are various modes of transmission depending on which virus is causing the disease. The most common cause of Denmark, the herpes virus. 
Other types of viruses such as varicella virus can cause encephalitis, and their modes of transmission are different from the herpes virus. It is not known why the virus causes encephalitis in place of the common diseases like cold sores , sores on the genitals or chickenpox. 
For herpes virus and varicella it probably a flare-up of the virus, which has been “sleeping” in the nerve cells since the original infection.
 A third virus spreads by that one gets a tick (erroneously often called ” tick “) on it. It may have Borrelia in itself, but on the island and very rarely in North Zealand may also have a virus, TBE virus, which gives encephalitis. 


What causes encephalitis?

If one gets encephalitis in Denmark, is the most common cause of herpes viruses, which can also provide cold sores and wounds on the genitals. Other viruses can also cause encephalitis, for example, varicella virus, measles virus or mumps virus. 
A rarer form, available on the island and is found in North Zealand, transmitted by the tick. Abroad, especially in Asia, are other types of viruses, for example, can the virus which can cause Japanese encephalitis or rabies (rabies), also cause encephalitis. 

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Studies of brain inflammation

The doctor will take blood tests and a lumbar puncture, which is a sample of the fluid surrounding the spinal cord, often called spinal tap. In the spinal fluid (cerebro-spinal fluid) laboratory will look for white blood cells and after the virus which has given brain inflammation. Moreover, a brain scan and a so-called electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures the electrical impulses from the brain. 

Treatment of inflammation of the brain

Medical treatment 

The physician will inject into a blood vessel with an agent  acyclovir, which acts against the herpes virus. If the tests confirm that it is herpes virus, which causes brain inflammation, continue treatment with acyclovir at least 2 weeks. 
It will in addition provide  painkillers  against the headache and ensure that the patient gets enough fluid. 

After an inflammation of the brain, it may be necessary for functional recovery.

You can vaccinate against the virus (TBE virus), which provides encephalitis Bornholm and North Zealand. It is recommended that you get vaccinated if you often need to move much in the meadow, forest and scrub areas on the island. 
There is also a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis that the doctor will advise you if you need to travel to countries where the disease exists.  

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