What is influenza encephalopathy?

Influenza encephalopathy is a serious disease that affects the brain, after onset of influenza, developing impaired consciousness, convulsions, abnormal behavior and other symptoms. It primarily develops in infants under 5 years and is characterized by the rapid progression of impaired consciousness, etc. from its onset. There are also mild cases with good convalescence, but sometimes sequelae may remain and they may become mortal. Recently, adult cases of influenza encephalopathy have also been reported, it seems we can’t say it is limited to infants.

Various influenza encephalopathies

Influenza-associated encephalopathy is not exactly a single brain disease but a syndrome including plural diseases that develop impaired consciousness and etc. Find some of them below.

  • Acute necrotizing encephalopathy

This is a virus-induced, acute encephalopathy with diffuse brain edema accompanying both side symmetric thalamus lesions. It is characterized by that a lot of cases has been reported especially among the infants in South East Asia. The symptoms like rapid loss of consciousness and convulsions follow fever developed by the virus. The lesions are often observed onto cerebral side periventricular white matter, epithelial brainstem tegmentum and, the medulla, the internal capsule and the putamen of cerebellum.

  • Reye syndrome

This is an extremely rare disease with, after virus infection of influenza or others, symptoms like severe nausea and vomiting, cramps and confusion, even coma etc., and at the same time, brain’s inflammation and/or swelling and decreases in liver function are to be seen. And it is also characterized by the fact that many cases are reported in children under 18 years old who take the aspirin during contracting an infectious disease. Most of patients who hold out the acute period will recover, but if the symptom was very severe, disabilities or convulsive diseases etc. might remain.