Encephalitis is a rare but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed (swollen).
It can be life-threatening and requires urgent treatment in hospital.
Anyonecan be affected, but the very young and very old are most at risk.
This page covers:
Encephalitis sometimes starts off with flu-like symptoms , such as a high temperature and Headaches , but these don't always occur.
More serious symptoms develop over hours, days or weeks, including:
Dial 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone else has these more serious symptoms.
The earlier treatment is started, the more successful it's likely to be.
Treatment depends onthe underlyingcause, but may include:
How long someone with encephalitis needs to stay in hospital can range from a few days to several weeks or even months.
But help and support is available.
It's not always possible to prevent encephalitis, butsome of the infections that cause it can be prevented with vaccinations.
These include the:
Speak to your GP if you're not sure whether your vaccinations are up to date, or you're planning to travel abroad and don't know if you need any vaccinations.
Find out about encephalitis, a rare but serious condition that causes inflammation of the brain.
Find out about the main signs and symptoms of encephalitis, and when to get medical advice.
Find out about the main causes of encephalitis, including viral infections and problems with the immune system.
Find out about the tests that may need to be carried out to diagnose encephalitis, including brain scans and a lumbar puncture.
Find out how and where encephalitis is treated.
Find out about the further problems that can occur after encephalitis, and what help and support is available.