Flu complication: Encephalitis

Why it occurs (1)(2)

Encephalitis is an uncommon but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed.

It can be caused by a viral infection that has spread to the brain (viral encephalitis).

It can also be caused by a problem with the immune system that causes it to mistakenly attack the brain after an infection in another part of the body (post-infectious encephalitis).

Treatment (2)

If you have encephalitis, it needs to be treated urgently, usually in an intensive care unit.

Treatment involves tackling your underlying cause, relieving your symptoms and supporting your bodily functions.

How long you stay in the hospital depends on how well the treatment works. It could be days, weeks or even months.

Impact if untreated (2)

Encephalitis is a serious condition that can cause long-term problems or even be fatal.    

Some of the most common complications include problems with memory, speech, swallowing, concentrating, co-ordination along with epilepsy, psychological problems and persistent tiredness, amongst others.

(1) https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/seasonal-influenza/facts/questions-and-answers-seasonal-influenza
(2) http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tonsillitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx