Inflammation of the brain. Encephalitis occurs, for example, in 1 in 1,000 cases of measles. It may start (up to 3 weeks) after onset of the measles rash and present with high fever, convulsions, and coma. It usually runs a blessedly short course with full recovery within a week. Or it may eventuate in central nervous system impairment or death. Encephalitis can cause brain damage, which may result in or exacerbate the symptoms of a developmental disorder or mental illness. The form called encephalitis lethargica (“sleeping sickness”) results in a set of Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms called postencephalitic parkinsonianism. In some cases encephalitis causes death. Treatment of encephalitis must begin as early as possible to avoid potentially serious and life-long effects. Depending on the cause of the inflammation, this may include antibiotics, anti-viral medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs. If brain damage results from encephalitis, therapy (such as physical therapy or cognitive restoration therapy) may help patients regain lost functions.
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Inflammation of the brain. [G. enkephalos, brain, + -itis, inflammation]
- acute hemorrhagic e. e. of apoplectoid character due to blood extravasation. SYN: e. hemorrhagica.
- acute inclusion body e. SYN: herpes simplex e..
- acute necrotizing e. an acute form of e., characterized by destruction of brain parenchyma; caused by herpes simplex and other viruses.
- Australian X e. SYN: Murray Valley e..
- bacterial e. e. of bacterial etiology. SYN: e. pyogenica, purulent e., suppurative e..
- bunyavirus e. e. of abrupt onset, with severe frontal headache and low-grade to moderate fever, caused by members of the genus Bunyavirus (Bunyaviridae family); infections also occur in rodents, lagomorphs, and domestic animals. SYN: California e..
- California e. SYN: bunyavirus e..
- coxsackie e. a viral e., seen mainly in infants and involving principally the gray matter of the medulla and cord, caused by Enterovirus human coxsackie B.
- Dawson e. SYN: subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
- epidemic e. a viral e. occurring epidemically, such as in Japanese B e., St. Louis e., and lethargic e..
- equine e. SYN: equine encephalomyelitis.
- experimental allergic e. (EAE) SYN: experimental allergic encephalomyelitis.
- Far East Russian e. tick-borne e. (Eastern subtype).
- e. hemorrhagica SYN: acute hemorrhagic e..
- herpes e. SYN: herpes simplex e..
- herpes simplex e. the most common acute e., caused by HSV-1; affects persons of any age; preferentially involves the inferomedial portions of the temporal lobe and the orbital portions of the frontal lobes; pathologically, severe hemorrhagic necrosis is present along with, in the acute stages, intranuclear eosinophilic inclusion bodies in the neurons and glial cells. SYN: acute inclusion body e., herpes e..
- hyperergic e. e. as a result of an immunologic allergic reaction of the nervous system to antigenic stimuli.
- Ilhéus e. an e. caused by the Ilhéus virus (genus Flavivirus) and endemic to eastern Brazil and other parts of South and Central America; transmitted by mosquitoes.
- inclusion body e. SYN: subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
- Japanese B e. an epidemic e. or encephalomyelitis of Japan, Siberian Russia, and other parts of Asia; due to the Japanese B e. virus (genus Flavivirus) and transmitted by mosquitoes; can occur as a symptomless, subclinical infection but may cause an acute meningoencephalomyelitis. SYN: e. japonica, Russian autumn e..
- e. japonica SYN: Japanese B e..
- lead e. SYN: lead encephalopathy.
- e. lethargica SYN: von Economo disease.
- Mengo e. an e. occurring in Africa, due to the Mengo strain of encephalomyocarditis virus, a member of the Picornaviridae.
- Murray Valley e. a severe e. with a high mortality rate occurring in the Murray Valley of Australia; the disease is most severe in children and is characterized by headache, fever, malaise, drowsiness or convulsions, and rigidity of the neck; extensive brain damage may result; it is caused by the Murray Valley e. virus (genus Flavivirus). SYN: Australian X disease, Australian X e..
- necrotizing e. any e. in which extensive brain necrosis occurs, e.g., acute necrotizing hemorrhagic encephalomyelitis.
- e. neonatorum e. of the newborn, described by R. Virchow as marked by the presence of fat-laden cells in the brain.
- e. periaxialis concentrica e. that is clinically similar to adrenoleukodystrophy, but pathologically characterized by concentric globes or circles of demyelination of cerebral white matter separated by normal tissue. SYN: Baló disease.
- e. periaxialis diffusa SYN: Schilder disease.
- postvaccinal e. SYN: postvaccinal encephalomyelitis.
- Powassan e. an acute disease of children varying clinically from undifferentiated febrile illness to e.; caused by the Powassan virus, a member of the Flaviviridae family, and transmitted by ixodid ticks; most frequently seen in Canada.
- purulent e. SYN: bacterial e..
- e. pyogenica SYN: bacterial e..
- rasmussen e. e. in which antibodies to a stimulatory glutamate receptor in the CNS are found; perhaps autoimmune. SYN: Rasmussen syndrome.
- Russian autumn e. SYN: Japanese B e..
- Russian spring-summer e. (Eastern subtype) a tick-borne e. virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae.
- Russian spring-summer e. (Western subtype) SYN: tick-borne e. (Central European subtype).
- Russian tick-borne e. SYN: tick-borne e. (Eastern subtype).
- secondary e. collective term for postinfectious, postexanthem, and postvaccinal encephalitides.
- subacute inclusion body e. SYN: subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
- e. subcorticalis chronica SYN: Binswanger disease.
- suppurative e. SYN: bacterial e..
- tick-borne e. (Central European subtype) tick-borne meningoencephalitis caused by a flavivirus closely related to the virus causing the Far Eastern type; it is transmitted by Ixodes ricinus, also by infected raw milk, especially that of goats. SYN: biundulant meningoencephalitis, Central European tick-borne fever, diphasic milk fever, Russian spring-summer e. (Western subtype).
- tick-borne e. (Eastern subtype) a severe form of e. caused by a flavivirus (Flaviviridae family), and transmitted by ticks (Ixodes pertulcatus and I. ricinus). SYN: Russian tick-borne e..
- van Bogaert e. SYN: subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
- varicella e. e. occurring as a complication of chickenpox.
- vernal e. tick-borne e. (Eastern subtype).
- woodcutter's e. tick-borne e. (Eastern subtype).

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en·ceph·a·li·tis in-.sef-ə-'līt-əs n, pl -lit·i·des -'lit-ə-.dēz inflammation of the brain
en·ceph·a·lit·ic -'lit-ik adj

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inflammation of the brain. It may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection or it may be part of an allergic response to a systemic viral illness or vaccination (see encephalomyelitis). Viral encephalitis is endemic in some parts of the world; it may also occur epidemically or sporadically. One form - encephalitis lethargica - reached epidemic proportions shortly after World War I and was marked by headache and drowsiness, progressing to coma (hence its popular name - sleepy sickness). Encephalitis can cause postencephalitic parkinsonism. Another type of encephalitis that occurs sporadically is due to herpes simplex.

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en·ceph·a·li·tis (en-sef″ə-liґtis) pl. encephaliґtides [encephalo- + -itis] inflammation of the brain. encephalitic adj

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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