Medical Definition of Encephalomyelitis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Encephalomyelitis: Inflammation of both the brain and the spinal cord. Encephalomyelitis can
be caused by a variety of conditions, including viruses that infect the nervous system. One type
of encephalomyelitis, acute disseminatedencephalomyelitis, occurs most commonly after an acute viral infection, such as measles (rubeola). It is due to an autoimmune attack on the nervous system, meaning that the immune system mistakenly attacks body tissue that it believes to be the measles virus. Also known as myeloencephalitis.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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