Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.

Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Encephalitis lethargica


Other Names for this Disease
  • Von Economo’s disease
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview

Encephalitis lethargica (EL) is a disease characterized by high fever, headache, double vision, delayed physical and mental response, extreme tiredness (lethargy), and sometimes coma. Patients may also experience abnormal eye movements, upper body weakness, muscle pain, tremors, neck rigidity, and behavioral changes including psychosis. A worldwide epidemic of EL occurred from 1917 to 1928 with more than one million reported cases.[1][2] Although occasional cases are reported with similar symptoms, EL epidemics have not recurred.[1] The cause of this condition is unknown, but a viral origin is suspected.[2] Treatment depends on a person's symptoms. Levodopa and other antiparkinson drugs may be effective in alleviating some symptoms.[1]
Last updated: 6/7/2016

References

  1. NINDS Encephalitis Lethargica Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Website. February 12, 2007; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/encephalitis_lethargica/encephalitis_lethargica.htm. Accessed 6/7/2016.
  2. Dennis Tappea, David E. Alquezar-Planas. Medical and molecular perspectives into a forgotten epidemic: Encephalitis lethargica, viruses, and high-throughput sequencing. Journal of Clinical Virology. October 2014; 61(2):189-195. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25129855.
GARD Video Tutorials
GARD Video Tutorials
Learn how to find information on treatment, research, specialists, and more.
Your Questions Answered
Your Questions Answered
View questions about this condition answered by GARD Information Specialists. You can also submit a new question.

Basic Information

In Depth Information

  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Encephalitis lethargica. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Von Economo’s disease
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.