Encephalitis lethargica


A rare brain disease characterized by fever, headache, lethargy and reduced physical and mental responses. The disease occurred as an epidemic in the 1920's but now occurs sporadically - the exact cause is still not known.


* Fever * Headache * Dizziness * Fatigue * Irritability


Many people believe a virus or other type of infection may be to blame for encephalitis lethargica, but there's currently no good evidence to suggest any particular organism. Some researchers have suggested it might be an autoimmune disease, where the body's immune system is triggered by a throat infection (perhaps with a Streptococcus-like bacteria) to attack the nervous system.


Encephalitis lethargia can result in a changed lifestyle of the patient, as the brain gets affected by the disease. On the onset, if Parkinson’s disease is acquired, the patient might have to live with a deteriorated life condition. If not taken care of and managed well in the initial stages, Encephalitis lethargia may turn fatal. Cases have also been seen where Encephalitis lethargia has resulted in the complete loss of mental abilities amongst the patients.


There's no cure for encephalitis lethargica, but treatment is targeted at supporting the person through their illness and dealing with the symptoms as they occur. Treatment in an intensive care unit may be necessary In the early stages, treatment in an intensive care unit may be necessary to keep the person breathing, fed and protected from other infections, especially if they're in a coma. Steroid drugs may help to reduce inflammation in the brain.