Encephalitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Encephalitis is the medical term that refers to inflammation of the brain tissue.

The main signs and symptoms associated with encephalitis include headache, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, mental confusion, malaise, muscle weakness, and stiff neck. Other possible associated symptoms can include problems with coordination, altered level of consciousness, delirium, seizures, disorientation, unsteady gait, dementia, memory loss, and hallucinations.

Cause of encephalitis

Bacterial or viral infections may cause encephalitis. Viral infections are the most common cause, and the herpes virus causes the most serious cases of viral encephalitis. Enterovirus infections and mosquito-borne viral infections are other causes of viral encephalitis. Sometimes conditions other than infections, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and Behcet's disease, can cause encephalitis.

Other encephalitis symptoms and signs


Bowel regularity means a bowel movement every day. See Answer

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.