World Encephalitis Day is observed on 22nd February to raise awareness for the people who are affected by encephalitis. This day was started by encephalitis society in October 2013 and celebrating 10th year anniversary with the theme "Shine a light on encephalitis".
Encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain caused by an infection or an autoimmune response. There are some more causes also such as, viral infection, bacterial infection, insect bites and others. Sometimes, encephalitis can be life-threatening. Because it is difficult to predict how encephalitis will impact each individual, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.
Symptoms of Encephalitis:
Many people with viral encephalitis have mild flu like symptoms, such as:
- Stiff neck
- Aches in muscles and joints
- Fatigue or weaknesses
Sometimes it can cause more severe symptoms like:
Confusion, hallucinations, or agitation
Problems with speech and hearing
Loss of consciousness
Loss of sensation or being unable to move certain areas of the face or body
Types of Encephalitis:
There are two main types of encephalitis:
Primary encephalitis - Primary encephalitis is a condition in which virus or other agent directly infects the brain. Primary encephalitis may reactivate a virus that had been inactive after a previous illness.
Secondary encephalitis - This illness is the outcome of the immune system's inadequate response to an infection that has spread throughout the body. The immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the brain, instead of attacking cells causing the infection. Secondary encephalitis often occurs 2 to 3 weeks after the initial infection.
Factors that increase the chances of developing encephalitis:
Age - Generally, young children and older adults are at greater risk of viral encephalitis.
Weakened immune system - People with weak immune system are also at risk of developing the disease.
Geographical regions - Going on places where mosquito or tick borne viruses are common.
Common viral causes:
Viruses that can cause encephalitis:
- Herpes simplex virus
- Mosquito-borne viruses
- Tick-borne viruses
- Rabies virus
- Childhood infections
Practicing good hygiene, wearing long dresses, or using mosquito repellant to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks, teaching children good habits, and getting vaccinations can prevent the disease.