Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Equine Encephalitis Overview

What is equine encephalitis?
A person with equine encephalitis has inflammation of the brain, caused by a viral infection that is spread by mosquitoes. There are two types of equine encephalitis: Western and Eastern. Eastern equine encephalitis is very rare, but can be life threatening. Western equine encephalitis is slightly more common, but is rarely life threatening. Equine encephalitis causes inflammation and swelling of the brain and dura, a protective sheath that envelope the brain and spinal cord.

What are the symptoms of equine encephalitis?
Early symptoms of equine encephalitis include body aches, fatigue, fever, headache, nausea, rash, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. Later symptoms include confusion, neck pain, and lethargy.

How does the doctor treat equine encephalitis?
Treatment for equine encephalitis virus may include intravenous corticosteroids, anticonvulsant medications, antiviral medications, and acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever control.

Continue to Equine Encephalitis Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Equine Encephalitis References
  1. Aguilar PV, Greene IP, Coffey LL, et al. Endemic Venezuelan equine encephalitis in northern Peru. Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 May;10(5):880-8. [15200823]
  2. Deresiewicz RL, Thaler SJ, Hsu L, Zamani AA. Clinical and neuroradiographic manifestations of eastern equine encephalitis. N Engl J Med. 1997 Jun 26;336(26):1867-74. [9197215]
  3. Estrada-Franco JG, Navarro-Lopez R, Freier JE, et al. Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, southern Mexico. Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Dec;10(12):2113-21. [1566384]
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