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Encephalitis caused by cold sore virus?

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I was told yesterday by a nuerologist that I have encephalitis, and probably have had since birth.

All my life I have suffered from a skin virus around my eye which is apparently related to cold sores, and as a child I was given smallpox vaccinations every year to help control the frequency of the rash.

Could this have caused the encephalitis, and should I worry? The nuero said not to worry, but the google search I have done screamed 'serious!'

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Hello and Welcome!


Sorry to say but we can't answer that question here ... except to say that if the neurologist says it's ok, then I'd have to assume they are right.


I wonder if you heard what the diagnosis was correctly though, as my *understanding* is that encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain often caused by a virus or whatever. The most common version that is associated with a Herpes virus is caused by Mononucleosis ... which is a different Herpes virus. Like HSV1&2, once you have the virus in you, it's there for life, but it rarely causes a problem after the initial incident.... and the majority of the population actually has had it, but most just got treated as though they had flu and don't know it.


However, given he thinks you have had it since birth, then perhaps you got HSV from your mother at birth..... do you know if you had any complications soon after birth? If you got encephalitis at birth, you would have been a VERY sick baby.


I would *guess* that you got HSV1 as a small child from another child (I got it around age 4 ... about 60% of all kids have HSV1 oral by the time they are young adults) ... and then transferred it to your eyes (very common because little kids pick everything and don't have any sense of normal hygiene precautions). I have NO idea why they gave you a smallpox vaccine to control Herpes (assuming that is what it was).


I would go back and ask the Neurologist to explain his reasoning better .... but my understanding is if you have encephalitis you will KNOW it ... you will be VERY sick. Now, you may have some *long term side effects* of a childhood encephalitis that he is referring to, but I would love to know why he would say you have it now if it's not "active".



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