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Brain Fever in Children

Encephalitis, a form of brain fever, is caused by a virus widely known as Japanese B Encephalitis.

health and fitness Updated: Jul 31, 2003 20:25 IST

There are a number of myths that surround this deadly disease. Some parents think that if their children are very studious and are straining themselves mentally they are likely to develop brain fever. Some others believe has brain fever if the child's head is warm.

Many parents mistake the symptoms of brain fever and may delay treatment, with disastrous consequences. Many parents think that any fever that lasts for a long time is brain fever. In view of all these myths, it is essential to know the facts about brain fever.

Though children of any age group can be affected, school going children are most commonly afflicted. The most dangerous aspect about the brain fever is the rapid speed with which the child's condition worsens soon after the onset of the disease. High fever, unbearable headache, recurrent vomiting, and loss of consciousness occur in rapid succession in cases with brain fever. Never attempt to give any home remedy if any of the above symptoms are present. Rush the child to the hospital. If you delay the child may lose consciousness and then the chances of recovery are slimmer.

Encephalitis, one form of brain fever, is caused by viruses. In Asia it is caused by the Japanese B Encephalitis virus. The virus is found in the blood stream of pigs and the infection is spread from pigs to man by mosquitoes. Sadly there is still no medicine available to treat viral Encephalitis. Though the treatment is mainly supportive it has been found that early treatment significantly improves prognosis. The patients, for whom treatment is delayed, often end up with long-term sequale on recovery. Even if treatment is on time, as many as 20% of children with Viral Encephalitis end up with impairment of sight, hearing or movement. In many cases, these disabilities may be lifelong.

It is therefore, best to observe precautions and guard against the spread of Encephalitis, rampant in North India and in the rural areas of the South India. This can be done to an extent by controlling the pig population in the area and by tackling the mosquito menace. If the pig population in your area is significant it is advisable to inform the local health authorities. It hardly needs to be stressed that stagnant pools of water, the breeding ground for mosquitoes, will have to be cleared. In addition to pigs, horses, foxes and wolves may also harbour the Encephalitis Virus.


First Published: Jul 31, 2003 20:25 IST