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Introduction & Overview
Encephalitis is an acute infection and inflammation of the brain leading to swelling of the brain. Viruses responsible for encephalitis are the family of Arboviruses, the equine, West Nile, Japanese, La Crosse and St. Louis encephalitis viruses. In addition, viruses that cause cold sores, mumps, measles, and chickenpox can also cause encephalitis.
In the US, five viruses i.e., West Nile, Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Western equine encephalitis (WEE), La Crosse and St. Louis encephalitis cause encephalitis. These viruses in the US are spread by blood sucking mosquitoes and ticks (1).
Infection by a virus provokes the bodys immune system to fight off the virus and in the process may attack the nerves of the brain leading to a condition called Post Infectious or Autoimmune Encephalitis.
Inflammation of the meninges and the brain is called meningoencephalitis and inflammation of spinal cord and brain is called encephalomyelitis (2).
Article by Kona Vishnu, MS
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