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Definition: ENCEPHALITIS from A Dictionary of Entomology

Noun. (Greek, enkephalos = brain + English, -tion = result of action or process. PL, Encephalitides.) 1. Any of several arboviral diseases that affect Brain of humans and which are often fatal. 2. Diseases carried in other animals and transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Most notable encephalitides of human concern include: St Louis Encephalitis, Murray Valley Encephalitis, West Nile Encephalitis and Japanese Encephalitis. See Arbovirus. Cf. Japanese Encephalitis; Murray Valley Encephalitis; St Louis Encephalitis; West Nile Encephalitis.

Summary Article: encephalitis
From The Columbia Encyclopedia

(ĕnsĕf´´Әlī'tӘs), general term used to describe a diffuse inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, usually of viral origin, often transmitted by mosquitoes, in contrast to a bacterial infection of the meninges (membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord), known as meningitis. Diagnostic symptoms include capillary congestion, small hemorrhages into perivascular spaces, accumulation of plasma cells and lymphocytes, and increased pressure and protein content of cerebrospinal fluid.

Among the several forms of viral brain inflammation are rabies, polio, and two types transmitted by the mosquito: equine encephalitis in its various forms and St. Louis encephalitis. The latter two have appeared in epidemic form in the United States and are characterized by high fever, prolonged coma (which is responsible for the disease being known as a “sleeping sickness”), and convulsions sometimes followed by death. Encephalitis that results as a complication of another systemic infection is known as parainfectious encephalitis and can follow such diseases as measles (rubeola), influenza, and scarlet fever. The AIDS virus also infects the brain and produces dementia in a predictably progressive pattern. Although no specific treatment can destroy the virus once the disease has become established, many types of encephalitis can be prevented by immunization.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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