Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. Encephalitis is most commonly caused by a virus, but it can be triggered by other organisms including bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Sometimes it can be caused by a viral disease elsewhere in the body, such as post measles encephalitis. About half of the time, the trigger for encephalitis is uncertain.
Symptoms of encephalitis include:
Encephalitis requires urgent hospitalisation and medical care. With prompt treatment many people with encephalitis make a full recovery, but sometimes encephalitis can cause permanent brain damage or death.
People who are unwell and have symptoms of encephalitis should see their doctor urgently, attend an emergency department or call an ambulance on triple zero (000).
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Last reviewed: July 2016