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Child Neurology Consultants of Austin

Encephalitis

Encephalitis is inflammation – swelling and irritation – of the brain. When brain tissues swell, it causes the brain not to work properly and may lead to seizures, confusion, or changes in behavior.

This condition is usually caused by a viral infection, and any kind of infection or inflammation in the brain can lead to permanent brain damage. That is why it is especially important that children are diagnosed and treated quickly. Our team of board-certified pediatric neurologists is dedicated to the comprehensive care of children, adolescents, and families who are affected by encephalitis.

Overview of Encephalitis

Causes and Symptoms

There are several possible causes of encephalitis. Most often it is caused by a virus, such as enterovirus, herpes simplex virus, or West Nile virus. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection or by unusual agents such as Lyme disease, tuberculosis, or even parasites.

Aside from infection, an autoimmune condition can also cause encephalitis. This is when the body's own immune system attacks the brain tissue.

Diagnosis

Your physician will start by reviewing your child’s health history – asking questions about his or her vaccine history, recent illnesses, and travel. Your physician might also order a variety of tests such as an MRI, CT scan, blood tests, and EEG.

Treatment

Encephalitis requires treatment right away, and the child will need to stay in the hospital to be closely monitored. Treatment will depend on the child’s symptoms, age, and severity of the condition. Doctors will closely watch the child’s blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and bodily fluid levels to prevent further inflammation of the brain.

The goal of treatment is to reduce the inflammation and to prevent complications. Your child will likely need to take medicine to stop the infection and to control seizures and/or fever.

Some children recover completely from encephalitis. Others may need physical, occupational, or speech therapy to overcome the effects. Continued care by a Child Neurologist in the clinic will be needed to ensure the best possible outcome.

Resources

Child Neurology Consultants of Austin would be happy to evaluate your child to see if there is Encephalitis which is swelling and irritation of the brain, and provide treatment if so. To schedule a visit with one of our pediatric neurologists in Austin, South Austin or Cedar Park, Texas, submit an online appointment request or call (512) 494-4000.