Encephalitis is a serious, sometimes fatal condition. People often recover fully from the illness within a couple of weeks, but others, especially children and older people, may have permanent problems such as seizures, memory loss, personality changes, or brain damage.
The chance of dying from encephalitis or having permanent problems after recovery depends on what caused the encephalitis, how severe the illness is, how old the person is, and how quickly the illness develops.
In general, young children, older adults, and people who have impaired immune systems are at the greatest risk of serious illness, permanent neurological problems (such as seizures, memory loss, personality changes, or intellectual disability), or death as a result of encephalitis.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2005). Information on arboviral encephalitides. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/arbor/arbdet.htm.
- Jubelt B (2010). Viral infections and postviral syndromes. In LP Rowland, TA Pedley, eds., Merritt's Neurology, 12th ed., pp. 156–185. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Last Revised: October 26, 2011
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