Acute Encephalitis Syndrome [AES Disease]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Sep 20, 2022, 10:19

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, or AES, is a condition that causes the patient to experience acute onset of fever that further affects their mental state. It can cause memory loss, delirium, and even coma in some cases. This disease can also cause a person to have seizures at any time of the year. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a significant health concern in India, with frequent breakouts in different parts of the country. It is also known as brain inflammation and as 'Chamki Fever' locally.

Acute EncephalitisSyndrome mainly affects children and young adults. To know about the causes, treatment, and symptoms of this health condition, read the information given below.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome Causes

The causes of Acute EncephalitisSyndrome are mainly viruses. In fact, a particular type of virus, the Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), is the major causative of AES in India. However, the condition of AES can also be caused by several other sources, such as parasites, bacteria, spirochetes, fungus, chemicals, noninfectious agents, and toxins. The following are the different sources of Acute EncephalitisSyndrome:

  • Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)
  • Influenza A Virus
  • Pneumonia
  • Chandipura virus
  • Parvovirus B4
  • Dengue
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Measles

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome Treatment

Acute EncephalitisSyndrome is a serious medical condition that requires urgent treatment. While mild symptoms of acute encephalitis can be managed at home with the guidance of a doctor, those with severe symptoms may require care in an ICU. The treatment for this condition can be done as follows:

  • In case Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is caused by a fungal or bacterial infection, antibiotics are given to the patient.
  • Antiviral medicine is used if it is caused by herpes simplex or chickenpox viruses.
  • Immunoglobulin therapy can help control the immune system of the patient.
  • Steroid injections may also be used treat acute encephalitis.
  • If a tumor causes the condition, surgery is required to remove abnormal growths.

Types of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

There are two main types of AES. Identifying the type of condition can help doctors recommend appropriate treatment for the patient. The details about Acute Encephalitis Syndrome types are as follows:

Primary Encephalitis

Secondary Encephalitis

It occurs when the virus, bacteria, or another disease agent directly infects the brain.

It is a consequene of a faulty immune system. It is also called post-infection encephalitis.

This kind of disease also indicates that an old inactive virus in the body (due to some previous medical condition) has become active and has affected the brain.

While recovering from a disease, the immune system sometimes accidentally attacks the brain's healthy cells and infected ones.

Symptoms of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

The symptoms of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome can vary from mild to severe. In the beginning, the patient may experience a fever, and later on, it can lead to altered mental conditions. The symptoms of AES include:

  • High Fever
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Immobility in the neck and back
  • Mental Confusion
  • Sensitivity to Light
  • Loss of Memory
  • Speech and Hearing Issues
  • Delirium
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Loss of sensation in certain parts of the body (sometimes leading to paralysis)
  • Loss of consciousness (leading to coma)

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is also common among babies, so it is essential to look out for some critical symptoms in them. The following AES symptoms can be observed in infants and young children:

  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Body stiffness
  • Bulging of fontanels of an infant's skull
  • Irregular feeding

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome - Risk Factors

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a risky condition that can lead to morbidity and even mortality in patients. Some of the risk factors that increase the chances of being affected by the disease are as follows:

Risk Factor



Infants, children, young adults, and older people are more prone to be infected by Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. Their weak immune system increases the risk of being exposed to the disease.


People who live in poor hygiene conditions are likely to get sick with the disease. The areas dominated by mosquitos and ticks have a higher chance of an outbreak of infection.

Weak Immune System

People with weak immune systems can be affected easily compared to those with strong immunity. This includes people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and people suffering from other physical problems.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome - Prevention

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a significant public health concern in rural areas. The inflammation of the brain in young children affects the quality of their life. Awareness regarding the disease should be spread, and preventive measures should be taken to avoid another outbreak. Given below are certain factors that can prevent the spread of Acute EncephalitisSyndrome:

  • Maintain clean and hygienic living conditions.
  • Use mosquito repellent and dress accordingly in order to avoid infection.
  • Utensils should not be shared among family members.
  • Get proper vaccinations to prevent viral and bacterial infections.
  • Stagnant water should be removed from the house immediately.
  • Use hand sanitizers before taking meals.

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FAQs on Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

Q1. What is Acute Encephalitis Syndrome?

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a medical condition that causes the patient to experience acute fever and altered mental states, such as delirium, memory loss, and even coma. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is also known as 'Chamki fever' locally.

Q2. What is Acute Encephalitis Syndrome caused by?

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is caused by viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites, and other agents. In India, it is majorly driven by the Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV). Other causatives include Influenza A Virus, Pneumonia, Chandipura virus, Parvovirus B4, Dengue, etc.

Q3. How can we treat Acute Encephalitis Syndrome?

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome treatment includes tackling the root cause. Some of the treatment measures used in this condition are as follows:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antiviral medicine
  • Steroid injections
  • Removal of an abnormal growth

Q4. What are the guidelines for preventing Acute Encephalitis Syndrome?

The guidelines to prevent Acute Encephalitis Syndrome include maintaining hygienic living conditions, using mosquito repellent, removing stagnant water, using sanitizers before eating food, getting vaccinations, etc.

Q5. What is Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, also known as?

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is also known as 'Chamki fever' locally. Besides that, it is also known simply as AES. This condition can last up to a week. It can take many weeks and sometimes even months for the patients to recover from this condition.