Encephalitis syndrome – also known as Chamki fever – refers to acute inflammation or infection of the brain tissues. A rare but potentially life-threatening condition, encephalitis usually affects children. In the majority of cases, the cause is either a viral infection or a faulty immune system where the immune cells attack the brain tissues.
There are two types of encephalitis – Primary and Secondary. Primary encephalitis results from a viral infection affecting the spinal cord and brain. If the infection spreads to the brain from elsewhere in the body then it is secondary encephalitis.
What are the causes of Encephalitis?
Three types of viruses are responsible for causing encephalitis/ chamki fever. These are –
- Herpes viruses, such as chickenpox, Epstein-Barr Virus or EBV, and herpes simplex – a virus that causes cold sores
- Germs and viruses that spread from bugs and insects, for example – West Nile virus and germs causing tick bites
- Viruses that cause childhood infections, like rubella or German measles, mumps and chickenpox
In rare cases, encephalitis syndrome can occur due to –
- A bacterial infection – Bacterial meningitis
- Complications arising from other infectious diseases like syphilis
- A parasite like toxoplasmosis, in people with weak immunity
Signs and symptoms of chamki fever can range from mild to severe depending on the type of virus that has caused the infection.
Mild cases of encephalitis symptoms include –
- Lethargy or exhaustion
- Loss of appetite
- A persistent sick feeling
- Stiffness in the neck
If the condition worsens, you are likely to experience signs like –
- High fever, with a body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit
- Changes in personality
- Sensitivity to light
- Confusion and seizures
- Slower movements
Young children and infants exhibit different symptoms, such as the following –
- Constant crying
- Reduced appetite
- Stiffness in the body
- A soft spot in the scalp
Children suffering from encephalitis require intensive care, preferably at the clinic/hospital. The doctor will closely monitor their blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and body fluids to restrict inflammation in the brain.
The following treatment methods are used –
- Certain forms of encephalitis are treated with antiviral drugs
- Corticosteroids are prescribed to reduce swelling in the brain
- Anticonvulsants are given to people showing signs of a seizure
- OTC medications can help ease headaches and fever
- Sedatives are sometimes given to ease restlessness and irritability
- Fluids are administered intravenously to improve symptoms of chamki fever
Mild cases of encephalitis may show improvement in a couple of days, while severe cases may take weeks or months to be cured. It is recommended that you get vaccinated against viruses that potentially cause encephalitis.
You can take preventive measures like vaccination to stay away from this disease. Remember, consult a doctor at the earliest if you observe the symptoms mentioned above.