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Encephalitis is usually a viral illness, which means that antibiotics are not used to treat viral infections. However, some antiviral drugs have been used to treat HSV infections, and some doctors may attempt to use antiviral drugs on other acute viral infections. No antiviral drugs to date are used to treat arboviral infections.
As mentioned previously, there are other nonviral causes (see above) of encephalitis, so the treatment for a given case actually depends on the doctor's working diagnosis. If the encephalitis is due to nonviral causes, then other treatments, specific to the cause, are warranted. Many clinicians consult an infectious-disease, immunology, or cancer expert to help manage the various types of treatments. With the exception of herpes encephalitis, the mainstay of treatment is symptom relief. People with viral encephalitis are kept hydrated with IV fluids while monitoring for brain swelling. Anticonvulsants can be given for seizure control. Steroids have not been established as being effective although they may still be used in some cases.
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