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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is the difference between ‘encephalitis’ and ‘encephalopathy’?

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Frequently Asked Questions 


What is the difference between ‘encephalitis’ and ‘encephalopathy’? Are they the same thing?




Encephalitis and encephalopathy are two similar but different terminologies (in reality, the medical literature often may interchangeably use these two terms…)

  • Encephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain parenchyma and is associated with neurologic dysfunction (e.g. – altered mental status, confusion, disorientation, behavioral changes). The cause of the encephalitis can be infectious (e.g. – bacterial/viral) or non-infectious (e.g. – autoimmune).


Encephalopathy also refers to neurologic dysfunction, however, it can be with or without inflammation of brain tissue.

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