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World Encephalitis Day is on 22nd February 2015. Read Dan’s blog below to familiarise yourself with the topic to help spread awareness about the condition.
What is Encephalitis?
Encephalitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the brain.
How common is it?
Encephalitis is rare and affects approximately 4,000 in the UK each year.
What causes Encephalitis?
In most cases, encephalitis is caused by a viral infection.
However, people can also sometimes experience encephalitis when their immune system mistakenly attacks their brain without them previously having had a viral infection. Often, the cause of the problem with the immune system is unknown.
Very rarely, encephalitis can be caused by bacterial or fungal infections.
What are the symptoms?
The initial symptoms of encephalitis are flu-like symptoms that develop over several hours or a day, for example: –
- High temperature;
- General feeling of being unwell.
After the initial symptoms the headache can become severe and people can also experience: –
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Mild to moderate neck stiffness;
- Drowsiness and confusion;
- Problems with memory;
- Speech problems;
- Changes in personality and uncharacteristic behaviour;
Other symptoms can include sensitivity to bright light and a lack of co-ordination. In cases of severe infection people may lose consciousness and go into a coma.
How is it treated?
The treatment for encephalitis depends on the underlying cause of the inflammation. Because it can take time to diagnose an underlying cause for the encephalitis treatment is usually started before a firm diagnosis is made. This is because the earlier appropriate treatment is given the lower the risk of any injury to the brain occurring.
In order to treat viral encephalitis, anti-viral drugs are used to try and stop the inflammation.
In order to treat bacterial causes for encephalitis, antibiotics are prescribed and for fungal causes, anti-fungal treatments are used. Finally, in cases of autoimmune encephalitis drugs may be used to suppress the immune system.
Many complications can arise from failing to diagnose or treat encephalitis and can often lead to debilitating effects including memory loss, problems with concentration, behavioural changes, and epilepsy.
Encephalitis claims usually involve one or more of the following: –
- A delay in diagnosis;
- A delay in providing treatment;
- Failure or delay in carrying out at CT or MRI scan;
- A delay in arranging urgent Hospital admissions.
How can we help?
At Novum Law we offer free initial advice on claims of this kind. If you believe that you or any member of your family have a potential claim then let us assess your case. You can rest assured that we will deal with your enquiry without any initial cost or obligation.
If you have a question please call our specialist team on Freephone 0800 884 0777 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation chat.