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Herpes Encephalitis

Generally, herpes it is not life-threatening and has no long-term repercussions on one’s general physical health. However, there is a rare condition called Encephalitis which can cause complications.


What is Herpes Encephalitis?

Encephalitis is a condition where the brain becomes inflamed due to a virus or other types of infections. One kind of virus that can cause encephalitis is Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1).

Although Herpes simplex type 1 most often causes mild symptoms like cold sores and fever blisters, it can occasionally travel to the brain and cause encephalitis.

This condition is extremely rare

Herpes encephalitis is very rare, affecting two cases per million among the U.S. population.

Herpes simplex I is a very common virus that can cause small blisters or “cold sores” on the lips, inside the nose, in the eye, or on the eyelid. Very rarely, it is possible for the virus to move to the brain.

The virus can move from the nasal cavity up into the sinuses, and then into the brain. This can result in encephalitis. It is diagnosed by detecting HSV DNA in a spinal tap and treated with intravenous acyclovir.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of herpes simplex encephalitis can include a sore throat, fever, headache, a stiff neck, runny nose and vomiting.

As the disease progresses, more serious symptoms such as personality changes, paralysis, hallucinations, convulsions, and coma can occur. If left untreated, herpes encephalitis can result in death.

If you suspect that you have herpes encephalitis, it is very important that you contact your healthcare provider immediately. Proper diagnosis and prompt treatment are necessary.

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