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My child is ill / Types of encephalitis

How many types of encephalitis are there?

Encephalitis can be divided into 2 main types:

Encephalitis caused by an infection in the brain

Infectious encephalitis occurs when a virus or other infectious agent directly infects the brain. In many cases of infectious encephalitis the cause cannot be found. When a cause is found it is often a common virus that most children will come into contact with.

Encephalitis caused by autoimmune actions

Autoimmune encephalitis occurs when the immune system mistakes substances inside the brain as a threat and starts attacking them. There are a number of types of autoimmune encephalitis, each type targets a different part of the nerve cell. Autoimmune diseases are triggered by an unwanted process in the body, this could be a viral infection or it could be a tumour.

Encephalitis can also be described by the area of the brain that is affected.

Types of infectious encephalitis

Types of autoimmune encephalitis

Types of encephalitis by area

  • Limbic encephalitis
  • Brain stem encephalitis
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Encephalomyelitis
  • Meningoencephalomyelitis
  • Cerebellitis


Types of Encephalitis in alphabetical order