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Recovery from Viral encephalitis - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Brain and Spine
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2408 Questions
User :   My brother-in-law (age 52) was admitted to hospital following fever and hallucination (confusion, loss of direction) on Sep 9 2010. He was diagnosed with viral encephalitis and doctor has suspected Herpies Simplex Virus. Although the tests are underway to confirm the HSV, the doctors have already started treatment for the same. He's presently in ICU and his condition has certainly improved in last 3 days. From the state of almost unconsciousness (3 days back), he has now started recognizing every individual he has met. The vital tests (Kedneys, MRI, LFT etc ) are normal. But he's still in a state of hallucination/confusion, talking something that doesn't make sense...e.g. death of a family member, wanting to run away from hospital, a fire incident etc..
Is this expected behavior in recovery state of Viral Encephalitis? Is this permanently curable? If yes how long (normally) the recovery takes?
Doctor :   Is he having any other symptoms right now?Previously was he on any medication?
User :   no
User :   blood pressure medicine is the only medicine he;s taking
Doctor :   Does he have any increased sugar, BP or cholesterol?
User :   BP
Doctor :   Ok
Doctor :   Is this the first time he had such episode?
User :   I think so
User :   let me confirm quickly
Doctor :   Ok
User :   no.. nothing of this sort in the past
Doctor :   Ok
Doctor :   Viral encephalitis affects the neurological system and thus these types of symptoms are common in that cases.
User :   ok..for how long?
Doctor :   It may range from 15 to 20 days and also depends on the recovery phase. Since he is showing good improvement it may not take longer.
Doctor :   Is he having any problems in speech?
User :   initially yes.. but thats improving too
Doctor :   Does he have fever now?
User :   mild now
Doctor :   If the speech problem continues then you need to consult a speech therapist who can best understand and also may give some therapies.
User :   ok
Doctor :   He may take 2 to 3 weeks to recover fully from it
User :   why does this HSV confirmation takes so long?
Doctor :   Since virus detection takes so much of time it is usual to take time for confirmation.
User :   hmm.. ok..
User :   so temporary hallucination/confusion is very common dusring recovery process .. right?
Doctor :   After the treatment also make sure that you keep watch of his status and symptoms and do not let him be in any stress as there are chances of relapse also in some cases
User :   ok
User :   any special diet that helps?
Doctor :   As the virus directly affects the Nervous system symptoms like seizures, hallucinations, convulsions, speech impairement are common.
Doctor :   Also behavioral symptoms and headache, vomitting, drowsiness ans hearing loss
User :   ya... from symptoms perspective i understand.. but does it occur during the recovery process.?
Doctor :   Diet is nothing special as such. He may require fluids and monitoring of electrolytes. Since the recovery phase is of about 20 days these symptoms are usual and you need not worry
User :   ok.. thanks for that
Doctor :   Just give him bed rest after discharge also for about a month
User :   ok
Doctor :   And keep the fluid intake good.
Doctor :   .Have you followed what i have
Doctor :   said?
User :   yes yes
Doctor :   Is there anything else you would like to know?
User :   for how long are the chances of relapse?
Doctor :   It does not seem like since he has shown good improvement
Doctor :   It usually occurs in severe cases
User :   ok
User :   thanks
User :   thyats all i have
Doctor :   Thanks for consulting me, bye for now
Doctor :   Wishing good health to your BIL
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