Encephalitis is the irritation and swelling of the brain, most often due to infection. The most common cause of infant encephalitis is vaginal delivery by a mother who is infected with the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). This type of infection in newborns is often severe and can be fatal. Pregnant women with a history of HSV-2 infection are usually advised to undergo a cesarean section (c-section), even if there is no sign of active infection.
Other viral diseases such as measles and rubella can progress to involve inflammation of the brain. Micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi and parasites, are capable of triggering encephalitis, but viruses are the leading cause.
A failure of a medical professional to properly detect and/or treat a bacterial or viral infection in the mother may result in infant encephalitis. Infant Encephalitis can lead to permanent brain damage or chronic conditions like cerebral palsy due to the abnormal development of the brain. If left untreated, it may also result in death.
It is extremely important that a doctor treat an encephalitis infection as soon as possible. Babies under the age of one face the highest risk of mortality.
The following symptoms should be taken very seriously by child’s doctor:
- Bulging in the soft spots (fontanels) of the skull
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body stiffness
- Constant, inconsolable crying
- Crying that worsens when the child is picked up
- Poor feeding
If you believe your child has suffered from brain damage, a developmental disability or has died as a result of untreated encephalitis, you may have a case for medical malpractice. The expert birth injury lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C. have years of experience with cases that involve brain injuries at birth. We will conduct a thorough investigation and examine all medical records to determine if your child did indeed suffer as a result of malpractice.