Encephalitis is a severe inflammation of the brain typically caused by a viral infection. Many cases, especially those with children, can become serious. Encephalitis is not very common and therefore can easily be mistaken for migraines or the flu. Any undue delay in treatment from doctors can have tragic consequences. Complications can include comas, mental impairment, memory loss, paralysis, and even death.
Encephalitis is caused by an initial viral infection. Common causes in children include Herpes simplex virus, mosquito-borne viruses, tick-borne viruses, and childhood diseases such as the measles or rubella. Many times the parents do not know the child even has a virus in the first place. Therefore it is important to recognize the symptoms of swelling of the brain caused by encephalitis.
Common symptoms in children
Individual symptoms are not always recognized as encephalitis right away, but being aware of the list of symptoms can help prevent further damage. Initially infants can have a stiff neck and swelling while older children typically have beginning symptoms of a headache and sensitivity to light. Additional symptoms that can occur include:
- Bad headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stiff neck
Tests for encephalitis can include a brain scan, EEG, spinal tap or a brain biopsy (rarely). Properly administered treatment can prevent long term impairment. Children can receive an antiviral medicine and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce brain swelling.
Unfortunately doctors sometimes put off testing for encephalitis because the tests can be expensive and symptoms can be explained by other more common illnesses. But delaying diagnosis can cause irreversible effects and even death. When a doctor fails to test for encephalitis when parents report warning signs then they can be liable for the damage they have failed to prevent. If your child has suffered long term effects from misdiagnosis of encephalitis then you can receive compensation. Contact an experience attorney to help support your case.