World Encephalitis Day 2018

World Encephalitis Day 2018

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Highlights:
  • The World Encephalitis Day is celebrated on the 22nd of February every year.
  • On this day, the Encephalitis Society hopes to increase awareness and funds to support encephalitis patients and research on encephalitis.
  • The society suggests that individuals could make their contribution by wearing red, increasing awareness on social media, and/or making a monetary donation to the society.
The World Encephalitis Day is observed on the 22nd of February every year. It was established by The Encephalitis Society to increase awareness and raise funds to help fight against the brain condition.
World Encephalitis Day 2018

The urgent need for awareness about encephalitis is reflected by the startling statistics obtained from a survey carried out in UK, USA, Germany, India, and Australia which reveals that eighty percent individuals do not know what encephalitis is! Here are some aspects on encephalitis that could help you to understand the condition better:

  • Encephalitis means inflammation of the brain. It could be a consequence of an infection by a virus or a bacterium, though fungi and parasites have also been implicated. It could also occur after complete resolution of the infection or due to an autoimmune reaction.
  • Since the brain controls the body, encephalitis can have serious implications throughout the body. Symptoms include reduced consciousness that can extend into coma, headache behavioral problems, memory loss, sleep disturbances, seizures, hallucinations, and motor and sensory disturbances along with generalized symptoms like fever. The condition is more serious than meningitis, since it affects the substance of the brain, while meningitis affects the coverings of the brain called the meninges.
  • Encephalitis should be managed on an emergency basis. The diagnosis is based on neurological tests which include CT scan, MRI, a spinal tap and an EEG (a test that evaluates the electrical activity in the brain). Treatment includes antiviral drugs, antibiotics, and immune modulating drugs like steroids or intravenous immunoglobulins depending on the cause, symptomatic treatment and the treatment of complications like seizures.
  • The real challenge appears after the patient recovers from the initial inflammation. The memory loss results in a blank period in the patient's life. The medications can cause long-term side effects, which may also add to the problems. Some patients have residual physical disabilities, while others may appear perfectly normal, but find it difficult to integrate in their previous surroundings and workplace, often resulting in frustration. They may need prolonged support depending on the extent of their recovery.
  • Children are usually the long-term suffers of encephalitis, since their brain is affected in the developmental stage. It may be difficult for them to return to normal school life, given the residual scars of the disease. Some children may require a less stimulating environment which may be difficult to find in the school. Memory problems could worsen the grades, which could demotivate the child. Problems with attention, communication, hearing problems reading and interpretation could interfere with the learning. The extent to which an individual child is physically and mentally affected varies. An integrated approach by the parents, teachers, school, the child's friends, the school psychologists as well as the treating doctor through proper planning and regular review could help the child to achieve the best possible. Teachers should be guided on how to manage the child in school.
  • The impact of the disease on the family is immense. Treatment in an intensive care unit is not only emotionally taxing for the family, the costs in a private set up are often prohibitive. The long-term sequelae of the disease may prevent the individual from continuing the original lifestyle. S/he may have to undergo occupational therapy and change to a less demanding occupation.
The Encephalitis Society, along with increasing awareness, hopes to create enough resources through donations to support people affected by encephalitis and contribute to research in the field. Several infections that cause encephalitis can be prevented by adopting certain lifestyle measures or through vaccination. Bites from mosquitoes and ticks that spread the infection that should be avoided. Increasing the awareness about the preventive measures could reduce the number of cases affected by encephalitis.

The color for the World Encephalitis Day is Red. The Encephalitis Society suggests that you could contribute by wearing red on the day, spreading awareness on social media, or by making a monetary donation to the society.

References :
  1. World Encephalitis Day 2018 - (https://www.encephalitis.info/pages/category/wed2018)

Source: Medindia

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