ROCHESTER, Minn. - Mayo Clinic commemorated World Encephalitis Day Tuesday, lighting the Plummer Building red, and warning of risk to COVID-19 patients.
Encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, is associated with high mortality. Its symptoms including fever, confusion, headache, vomiting, weakness, and seizures.
Mayo Clinic says encephalitis appears to be a relatively rare coronavirus complication, but it has been reported in COVID-19 patients. Doctor Sebastian Lopez of Mayo Clinic says early diagnosis is key, particularly because treatment can vary depending on its root cause.
"Some patients do not have encephalitis from an underlying infection, but rather, they have encephalitis from an immune-mediated reaction. Therefore, diagnosing the patient with the right cause of their encephalitis is important, because the treatments, the targeted treatments are different," Dr. Lopez said.
Experts say the best way to avoid developing neurologic complications from COVID-19, including encephalitis, is to prevent contracting coronavirus by receiving a vaccine.
The Encephalitis Society says the condition affects nearly 500,000 people around the world each year.