Fever, stiff back? Encephalitis symptoms often flu-like; stay hydrated, have light dinner
Some mild flu-like symptoms of the disease include headache, vomiting and sensitivity to light.
According to the World Health Organization, the fatality rate of AES can be as high as 30 per cent in people who have contracted the disease. Around 20-30 per cent of people who recover from the disease suffer from permanent neuropsychiatric sequelae which is a personality disorder that affects cognitive skills, mood, and day-to-day function.
The disease that projects flu-like symptoms has been a menace for the past few decades. Here's everything that you need to know about the condition.
What is AES?
Encephalitis is a disease caused by viruses that leads to inflammation of the brain. Encephalitis is one of the mid-level symptoms of Nipah and Zika viruses.
Who does it affect?
Infants, toddlers and elderly people are vulnerable to the disease. It can affect young adults too, further leading to mortality risk.
Causes & how it spread
The condition can occur due to a number of viruses. The most common cause of encephalitis is arboviruses (viruses that transmits through insect bites). People are most likely to get infected after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
The other sources of the disease are toxins, chemicals, fungii, bacteria, parasites, spirochetes, and other non-infectious agents.
Viral encephalitis in India is mostly a result of Japanese encephalitis, a flavivirus, that causes diseases like dengue and yellow fever. The other causes of AES are mumps, measles, Herpes simplex virus and Influenza A virus. However, there are several causes of AES that remain unidentified.
During the weekend, former Union health minister Dr CP Thakur had raised concerns that the cases might have increased due to the consumption of lychees.
In an official statement, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey had also pointed out that the disease could be a result of sleeping on an empty stomach at night, dehydration due to humidity, and eating lychee on an empty stomach.
Signs and symptoms
In some cases, the apparent signs don't show. However, some mild flu-like symptoms of the viral disease include:
- sensitivity to light
The severe symptoms can lead to mortality. The signs are:
- rapid onset of high fever
- neck & back stiffness
- mental confusion
- spastic paralysis
(Inputs from www.who.int, www.nhp.gov.in, wwwnc.cdc.gov)