Encephalitis is inflammation – swelling and irritation – of the brain. When brain tissue swells, 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.
Causes & 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.
Your physician will start by reviewing your child’s health history – asking questions about their 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.