Encephalitis lethargica is an atypical form of encephalitis. The exect cause of encephalitis lethargica is not known for certain. Encephalitis lethargica might be an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system is triggered by a throat infection (perhaps with a Streptococcus-like bacteria) to attack the nervous system. There is also some evidence of an autoimmune origin with antibodies from patients with encephalitis lethargica binding to neurons in the basal ganglia and mid-brain. Many other names have been given to the condition or to diseases that appear to cause the same symptoms. These include von economo’s disease, cruchet’s disease, akureyri disease, benign myalgic encephalomyelitis and sleeping disease. This disease is more severe. Fortunately, the rapid appearance of symptoms offers more of a chance for quick detection.
The symptoms of encephalitis lethargica can be variable, but the illness usually starts with a high fever, headache and sore throat. It attacked the brain, leaving victims like living statues, speechless and motionless. Sometimes the illness is mistaken for epilepsy, hysteria, or even drug or alcohol abuse. Unusual brain and nerve symptoms may occur and the person’s behaviour and personality may change. Occasionally, the person may become psychotic, with extremely disturbed thinking. Many people died during the original epidemic, but modern medicine can help to keep people alive. These problems may develop as long as a year after recovery. There may also be problems with swallowing or vision, as well as long-term behavioural disorders. However, some people do make a full recovery. Transmission of the trypanosomes across the placenta from a pregnant woman to the fetus can occur.
There’s no remedy for encephalitis lethargica, but handling is targeted at supporting the individual through their sickness and dealing with the symptoms as they happen. In the earlier stages, handling in an intense maintenance unit may be needed to hold the individual respiration, fed and protected from new infections, particularly if they’re in a coma. The selection of handling depends on whether the disease is detected before or subsequently in the transmission. There is less evidence then far of a coherent efficient handling for the initial stages, though some patients given steroids have seen advance. Levodopa and new anti-parkinson drugs frequently develop spectacular responses. The class of encephalitis lethargica varies depending upon complications or accompanying disorders. People may too require mental backing to trade with passionate and behavioural problems.