Encephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain, usually caused by a virus and occasionally through bacteria, fungi or parasites. Another type of encephalitis known as autoimmune encephalitis occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks the brain. Viruses common to infectious encephalitis include herpes, tick-borne and enteroviruses.
Symptoms of encephalitis can be similar to the flu and include headache, high temperature, light sensitivity, neck stiffness, difficulty with speech and movement, sensory changes and changes to behaviour.
The infection can damage and destroy nerve cells, causing injury to various parts of the brain. The effects can include:
- difficulty with memory and concentration
- difficulty with balance and control of bodily function and movement
- difficulty with speech and language
- headaches and fatigue
- sensory changes
- changes to mood and behaviour.