What are the classic signs and symptoms of encephalitis?

Updated: Aug 07, 2018
  • Author: David S Howes, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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The classic presentation is encephalopathy with diffuse or focal neurologic symptoms, including the following:

  • Behavioral and personality changes, with decreased level of consciousness

  • Neck pain, stiffness

  • Photophobia

  • Lethargy

  • Generalized or focal seizures (60% of children with CE)

  • Acute confusion or amnestic states

  • Flaccid paralysis (10% of patients with WNE)

Of note, severe headache is not always found. Less common is the complaint of paraspinal backache.

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