Encephalitis is a medical term that refers to an inflammation of the brain.
Two closely related terms
Encephalomyelitis, which refers to an
inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
Meningoencephalitis, which refers to an inflammation of the brain and the meninges (the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord).
Encephalitis can be caused by a number of viruses, bacteria and poisons (such as lead).
Describes the situation where
the cause of the encephalitis is known and is
believed to be responsible for the patient’s
Post-infectious encephalitis: Also known as acute
disseminated encephalomyelitis. This describes a
situation where the patient has recovered recently
from an illness, and develops encephalitis later.
Unspecified encephalitis: Describes the situation
where the cause of the encephalitis is unknown.
What are the symptoms of encephalitis?
The symptoms of encephalitis vary depending on
the cause of the encephalitis. The central nervous
system affects can be very mild and produce
symptoms no worse than a headache, or they can be
very severe and result in coma or death. Depending
on the cause of the encephalitis, other body systems
may also be affected.
Why is encephalitis considered a reportable
Encephalitis is a rare but very serious disease. Many
of the causes of encephalitis are communicable and,
if one case of encephalitis is diagnosed within a
community, appropriate steps may need to be taken
immediately to prevent the further spread of the
Where can I get more information?
Contact your doctor or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.