Diagnose Your Acute Encephalitis Syndrome? The Symptoms And Treatments You Should Know

In 2019, more than 140 children in Bihar suffered from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, known as “chamki bukhar” in the local language. Since then, cases have only risen, making it one of the recurring epidemics that looms over India and its children. At that time, the situation got worse, and over 600 children were hospitalized to observe the symptoms of this fatal disease. Read this guide to know whether your kid is at risk of getting this deadly ailment. And know its symptoms and treatment for early action.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

Also known as Aseptic Encephalitis or Viral Encephalitis, Acute Encephalitis syndrome is a rare condition that affects children, people with weak immune systems and the elderly primarily. It causes inflammation in the brain, leading to nerve damage and internal bleeding due to a particular virus. Generally, it is not fatal in most cases; a large outbreak was last seen in 2014 with 355 deaths. With medical advancement, it has become easier to gain control of the disease and treat it effectively.

Over 100 kinds of viruses such as polio, mumps, measles, rabies, chickenpox and rubella can cause Acute Encephalitis. Hence, one needs to be aware of the complications that arise with such viruses. If left untreated, the disease can take the form of more severe Encephalitis like necrotizing Encephalitis or brain haemorrhage. Therefore, catching early symptoms is vital for stopping or reducing the progression of Encephalitis at a fast pace. Look for warning signs such as headache, altered consciousness, and fever to control the disease in the knick of time.

Who Is Susceptible To Get Encephalitis?

The virus that causes Encephalitis affects children. But other than children, adults and aged people are also at risk of developing the disease.

● People with weak immune systems are highly susceptible to the disease.

● Similarly, patients suffering or recovering from life-threatening or auto-immune diseases such as HIV/ AIDs can get Encephalitis.

● People aged 50 above are also at a higher risk due to the slow working of the immune system.

Apart from children, if an adult has a weak immune functioning, they may catch the disease. Additionally, various causative agents such as chemicals, fungi, bacterias, parasites, and toxic substances lead to Encephalitis despite solid immunity.

What Are The Symptoms Of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome?

Acute Encephalitis can be treated if the symptoms and signs are detected early during the development of the disease.

● Fever or feeling sick
● Fatigue and Headache
● Loss of Appetite
● Nausea
● Stiffness, leading to coma in extreme cases
● Altered personality or confusion
● Hallucinations with memory loss
● Drowsiness
● Incoherent speech and impaired hearing
● Seizures

Signs to look for in infants are as follows:

● Fluid Build-up in the head that shows bulge either in the front or back of the head.
● Vomiting
● Sensitivity to light
● Body stiffness
● Rashes
● Irritability
● Seizures
● Lack of energy

What Are The Treatments Available For Encephalitis?

For treating Acute Encephalitis syndrome, medical care under a doctor is necessary. In severe cases, the child is usually admitted to the ICU to monitor the vital signs and monitor medications to reduce and stop further inflammation. The treatment for mild Encephalitis can include:

Antiviral Medication

Doctors may prescribe antiviral medications for stopping the spread of the virus. These generally include Acyclovir, Foscarnet and Ganciclovir. However, insect-borne viruses do not get treated with these medicines and require a different type of treatment.

Ancillary Assistance

Children and people recovering from Encephalitis may need supportive care such as breathing assistance, intravenous fluids, anti-convalescent and anti-inflammatory medication. These can help in maintaining proper hydration and the overall well-being of the patient for faster recovery.

Additional Therapy

Even after recovery, a patient may need follow-up therapy for dealing with additional complications, if any. These include physical therapy, speech therapy, psychotherapy and occupational therapy. All of them help improve mobility, increase everyday skills, better speech, and address the disease’s mental stress.

Conclusion

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is not treatable. But it is vital to be on the lookout for early warning signs, especially amongst children. Seek immediate and proper medical assistance in case your child experiences any symptoms. One can prevent it by improving immunity.

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