Vaccine-Related Encephalitis

Am I eligible for vaccine injury compensation?

What Is Encephalitis?

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain that typically affects children and older adults, as well as people with compromised immune systems. Autoimmune encephalitis can occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks brain tissue, but it’s commonly a result of a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection.

Viruses are the most likely cause of encephalitis, especially:

  • Common viruses. The herpes simplex virus can cause one of the most dangerous forms of encephalitis and can lead to severe brain damage. The Epstein-Barr virus, HIV and cytomegalovirus can also cause encephalitis symptoms.
  • Childhood viruses. While less common due to vaccines, the chickenpox, measles, polio and rubella viruses can still cause encephalitis.
  • Arboviruses. Viruses carried by insects, usually mosquitoes or ticks, are most common in the U.S.’s Western, Midwestern, and Southern regions. Drinking unpasteurized milk from tick-infected goats, sheep, or cows can also cause encephalitis.

Encephalitis is rarely life-threatening. However, each person responds differently to this condition, so getting a diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible is vital.

Can Vaccines Cause Encephalitis?

Several vaccines can cause encephalitis, including:

If you or a loved one has experienced encephalitis as the result of a vaccine, take our free quiz to see if you’re eligible for vaccine injury compensation.

What Are The Symptoms Of Encephalitis?

Because symptoms are similar to those of the flu, encephalitis may be difficult to recognize at first. Initial symptoms include a headache, fatigue, fever, and aches in muscles and joints.

While encephalitis is not usually life-threatening, it is very serious. It’s important to get immediate care if you have any severe symptoms, such as:

  • General confusion
  • Seizures
  • Loss of sensation or paralysis in the face or body
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of consciousness

In young children and infants, encephalitis symptoms may differ. Infants may have bulging in their fontanelles (soft spots on the head), and babies and young children may have nausea, vomiting, body stiffness, irritability, and difficulty with feeding. This age group should be seen immediately by a doctor if they have any encephalitis symptoms.

How Is Encephalitis Diagnosed?

Encephalitis can be diagnosed with the help of testing. A neurological exam is usually the first test. It may be followed by a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid will be tested for white blood cell count, glucose, higher-than-average levels of protein, bacteria, or viruses.

Brain imaging studies, such as an MRI, may be ordered to identify any changes in the brain that could point to encephalitis.

How Is Encephalitis Treated?

For people with relatively mild symptoms, doctors will often recommend rest, plenty of fluids and a pain reliever such as acetaminophen to reduce fevers or headaches.

If symptoms are more severe, an antiviral medication will likely be used. One of the most successful antivirals is acyclovir, which is effective against several infections including those caused by the herpes simplex virus.

Am I Eligible For Vaccine Injury Compensation?

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) includes encephalitis as a covered vaccine injury.

If you or a loved one has developed encephalitis as a result of a vaccine, take our vaccine eligibility quiz to see if you qualify for compensation. Our experienced vaccine injury attorneys can file a claim for you with the VICP at no cost to you.

Am I eligible for vaccine injury compensation?