Meningitis vs Encephalitis

The immune system can get activated by the disorders and infections to the spinal cord and brain resulting in inflammation. The inflammation can give rise to a range of symptoms, such as headache, fever, change in behaviour leading to stroke, brain damage, or can even be fatal.

Meninges is the membrane surrounding the spinal cord and the brain. The inflammation of the meninges can lead to meningitis. The inflammation of the brain is referred to as encephalitis while the inflammation of the spinal cord is called Myelitis. The condition is called encephalomyelitis when both the spinal cord and the brain are involved. Both can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites.

Key Difference between Meningitis and Encephalitis

The biggest difference between meningitis and encephalitis lies in the part of the body that is affected by these conditions majorly. While meningitis causes the membrane surrounding the brain and the spinal cord to swell, encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain.

Meningitis

  • Infection of the meninges – the membrane surrounding the brain and the spinal cord
  • Causes of meningitis are based on the type of meningitis one has. The different types are – Viral meningitis, Fungal meningitis, Bacterial meningitis, Parasitic meningitis

Encephalitis

  • It is the inflammation of the brain itself
  • Some of its symptoms include headache, fatigue, fever, muscle aches, drowsiness, paralysis, confusion, seizures ataxia, personality changes, sudden episodes of severe dementia

Key Differences between Meningitis and Encephalitis

The table below depicts the differences between Meningitis and Encephalitis.

Meningitis

Encephalitis

What is it?

Inflammation of the fine membranes (meninges) surrounding the spinal cord and the brain

Inflammation of the brain

Causative

Fungi, viruses, bacteria

Viruses majorly

Incubation period

Their symptoms develop within some hours to a few days

3-5 days is the most common period of incubation

Are rashes seen?

Yes, rash or skin discolouration may be present

No

Different forms

Has one form only

Occurs in the primary and secondary forms of encephalitis

Diagnosis

Cultures and routine blood examination

Neuroimaging techniques needed

Treatment

Can be treated with ampicillin with cephalosporin or aminoglycoside

Can be treated with intravenous Acyclovir

You read some differences between Meningitis and Encephalitis. For more such articles, visit us at BYJU’S NEET.

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