Neurological Disorders: Encephalitis

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The word encephalitis is derived from two Greek words. Enkephalos, which means brain, and itis, which means inflammation. Encephalitis was defined by Sir John Burton Cleland, a pathologist and naturalist. When he defined it, it was named ‘Australian X disease’.
Encephalitis is a neurological disorder that results in the inflammation of the brain and sometimes the meninges. It is usually due to a viral infection. Most often arboviruses cause encephalitis, by transference via mosquitos to humans and animals. When bitten by an infected mosquito the virus moves from the mosquito into the person’s blood, it then reaches the brain and spinal cord, it multiplies within the central nervous system thus inflaming and damaging nerve cells, this interferes with signals from the brain to the rest of the body. The herpes simplex virus type one can commonly cause encephalitis. HIV has also been noted as an increasing cause of encephalitis. Viral infections like: mumps, chicken pox and measles can also cause encephalitis, but rarely.
Most cases of encephalitis are non – fatal and symptoms are often mild, but there are instances of fatality, especially in very young and very old people. There are various types of viral encephalitis. Including :
- St Louis encephalitis (North America)
- Eastern Equine encephalitis (North America)
- California encephalitis

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