Bacterial Encephalitis Treatment

Bacterial Encephalitis Treatment

Encephalitis or inflammation of the brain tissue is rare that affects about one in 200,000 individuals each year in the U.S.

When the infection strikes, it can be very serious which may cause personality changes, weakness, seizures, and other symptoms depending on the part of the brain affected. Elderly, children and those with the weak immune system are most vulnerable. Acute encephalitis directly affects the brain cells. In para-infectious encephalitis, the brain and spinal cord become inflamed within 1-2 weeks of contracting a bacterial infection. 

How Do People Get Bacterial Encephalitis?

The immune system protects the body from infection and illness. When germs enter the body, the immune system attacks and stop them from causing a serious infection. However, very rarely something goes wrong with the immune system and it mistakenly attacks the brain which causes encephalitis

What Kind of Bacteria That Causes Encephalitis?

Most diagnosed cases of encephalitis in the United States are caused by herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, arboviruses (such as West Nile Virus). These are transmitted from infected animals to humans through the bite of an infected tick, mosquito, or other blood-sucking insects, or enteroviruses.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Encephalitis?

People infected with Encephalitis may experience physical and neurologic symptoms:

Stiff neck
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seizures
  • Memory issues
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty speaking or moving
  • Confusion
  • Behavior changes 

How Is Encephalitis Diagnosed?

Doctors may take several steps to diagnose brain infections. It may include:

  • Lab tests and imaging studies, which help confirm or rule out encephalitis
  • Neurologic exam to assess brain functioning
  • Physical exam to learn more about your symptoms

Tests may be needed to diagnose:

  • Imaging studies, such as a CT scan, MEG, and MRI test. These tests show signs of tissue damage. They can also detect issues such as tumors and brain bleeding.
  • Blood tests, assess organ functioning, and check for specific types of bacteria.
  • A lumbar puncture involves taking a sample of spinal fluid and examining it in a lab.

These tests help the doctors to:

  • Identify the type of encephalitis 
  • Determine how severe it is
  • Assess encephalitis symptoms

Management and Treatment of Bacterial Encephalitis


The brain infection treatments you need depend on the type of encephalitis and how severe it is. You may need:

  • Antiseizure medicines if you are having seizures
  • Antiviral medications for viral infections
  • Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections
  • Steroids to reduce swelling and brain pressure


  • Amoxicillin 
  • Cefdinir
  • Azithromycin 
  • Acyclovir 

Treatments for encephalitis may start working in as little as a few days. However, it can take a while for the brain to heal. Some people experience lasting cognitive effects that need rehabilitative therapies and lifestyle changes. 

About Edward Mallorca

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