Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain, often attributable to viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic invaders. If one the causative agents listed are directly involved in the inflammation, it is known as primary encephalitis. Secondary encephalitis occurs due to an inappropriate immune system reaction to infection elsewhere in the body. For whatever reason, the body mounts an autoimmune attack on the brain. This can happen within two to three weeks after an initial infection. Secondary encephalitis can be a reaction to a vaccination as well. Fast accurate diagnosis of encephalitis is key to helping to alleviate pressure so that further harm is not done. Encephalitis can be confused with meningitis (which can include inflammation of the meninges around the brain and spinal cord as well). Some of the causative agents of encephalitis are: Ebstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster virus, Enterovirus, West Nile virus, Powassan virus, rabies virus. The viruses responsible for childhood diseases such as measles and mumps can lead to secondary encephalitis. Symptoms of encephalitis are:

  • Aches
  • Aggitation
  • Confusion
  • Double vision
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache (can be severe)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Paralysis of certain body areas
  • Personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Speech and hearing difficulties
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness

Symptoms in babies or children can include:

  • Body stiffness
  • Crying
  • Fontanelle bulging (soft spots on an infant’s skull)
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Poor appetite/feeding

Symptoms that can linger months  in people who had severe encephalitis infections:

  • Fatigue
  • Hearing and vision defects
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Lack of muscle coordination
  • Memory problems
  • Mood disorders
  • Paralysis
  • Personality changes
  • Speech impairments
  • Weakness

Risk factors for developing encephalitis include:

  • Persons older or very young
  • Immunocompromised
  • Persons who spend a lot of time outdoors, living in regions where insect vectors such as mosquitos and ticks carry the viruses or bacteria that can cause encephalitis

Complications of untreated encephalitis are:

  • Coma
  • Death
  • Respiratory arrest (swelling of can cause compression of autonomic nerves that control involuntary bodily functions such as heartbeat, blood pressure regulation, respiration, digestion, heat regulation, sweating, etc.)

If you or a loved suffer a worsening of condition or death due to misdiagnosed encephalitis, you may be eligible for damages. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let our experts review the facts to see if you have a medical malpractice case. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning if we take your case there is no fee for representation unless a settlement or recovery of funds is made on your behalf.