Overview

Encephalitis (en-sef-uh-LIE-tis) is inflammation of the brain. There are several causes, but the most common is viral infection.

Encephalitis often causes only mild flu-like signs and symptoms — such as a fever or headache — or no symptoms at all. Sometimes the flu-like symptoms are more severe. Encephalitis can also cause confused thinking, seizures, or problems with senses or movement.

Rarely, encephalitis can be life-threatening. Timely diagnosis and treatment are important because it's difficult to predict how encephalitis will affect each individual.

Encephalitis care at Mayo Clinic