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World Encephalitis Day - Providing Support, Hope and Advice

World Encephalitis Day - Providing Support, Hope and Advice

Written by Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman, MD
Article Reviewed by 
The Medindia Medical Review Team on February 21, 2019 at 12:42 PM
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  • World Encephalitis Day is observed on 22nd February across the world to raise awareness about this serious brain condition and to honor the millions living with it
  • About 500,000 persons are affected by this condition annually worldwide and it can affect any age, sex, or ethnicity. It is usually caused by infection of the brain or a dysfunctional immune system attacking the brain
  • Early diagnosis and treatment will improve long-term outcomes for patients as well as reduce death rates

World Encephalitis Day is observed every year on the 22nd of February to raise awareness among the general public about this neurological condition that causes inflammation to the brain. This day helps to provide information, advice, support and offers hope to the millions of families impacted by this condition.

About World Encephalitis Day & Its Main Goals

World Encephalitis Day (WED) is an initiative of the Encephalitis Society and aims to raise awareness about this rare and little-known condition. Sadly, 80 percent of the general public have not heard of the term 'Encephalitis' or do not know what it means.

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain substance; delay in diagnosis and treatment can have serious consequences including death.

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World Encephalitis Day - Providing Support, Hope and Advice

World Encephalitis Day was first observed in 2014 and this year the sixth event is being observed to create and spread awareness about encephalitis as far and wide as possible. The WED campaign is committed to providing information and advice and to support and offer hope to the thousands of families impacted by this condition by providing information about the available care and resources.

What We Can Do to Raise Awareness about Encephalitis

  • Resources such as posters and fact sheets can be downloaded from the internet and shared widely in social media such as Facebook and Twitter
  • We can make a personal or corporate donation to the cause of raising encephalitis awareness and also to organizations involved in encephalitis research
  • Organize or participate in an Encephalitis Awareness Day event in the community such as a walk or a sporting event
  • Wear Red for WED (World Encephalitis Day) to show solidarity for the campaign and tell friends and colleagues why you are wearing red and make them aware too
  • Make and sell red themed trinkets such as wristbands, bracelets, tee shirts or mugs and donate the proceeds to charity and encephalitis research
  • Distribute information leaflets about encephalitis to the public in prominent locations such as malls and parks
  • Hospitals and clinics should display posters explaining about encephalitis and warning signs and seek urgent treatment
  • Both print and visual media should give wide coverage to the event and feature articles and programs about World Encephalitis Day and encephalitis awareness

Encephalitis Facts & Figures

  • Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain matter and can be caused by infection or by disease of the immune system
  • Awareness about the condition is very poor; about 80 percent of the population does not know what encephalitis means
  • About 500,000 persons are affected annually and it can affect any age sex or race
  • Early diagnosis and treatment can improve long-term outcomes
  • Despite treatment, death rates remain high and survivors can have a residual physical and behavioral impairment, epileptic fits, memory issues, poor concentration and understanding and social problems as a result of this
  • Since its initiation in 2014, awareness about encephalitis has increased but a lot more needs to be done

Warning Signs of Possible Encephalitis - Seek Urgent Medical Attention

  • Flu-like illness with a persistent headache that lasts days
  • Altered levels of consciousness and drowsiness and poor response to stimuli
  • High fever associated with fits
  • Neck stiffness
  • Abnormal movements and sensory changes
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Aversion to bright lights or sound
Diagnosis is made by brain imaging (CT scan or MRI), electroencephalogram (EEG) and spinal tap (lumbar puncture) to obtain cerebrospinal fluid for analysis. Treatment depends on the cause.

Prevention of Encephalitis

  • Protect against mosquito bites and dress appropriately and use repellents
  • Practice good personal hygiene - wash hands before meals and after using the toilet
  • Avoid sharing utensils, tableware and beverages
  • Get the MMR (measles mumps rubella) vaccine administered for your child. Vaccines are also available for tick-borne encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis
  • If you notice sudden or unusual bird or animal deaths in your neighborhood inform the local health authorities immediately


World Encephalitis Day is observed worldwide on the 22nd of February to educate the public about encephalitis and to offer support and hope to the millions affected by this condition.

References :
  1. What Is Encephalitis? - (https://www.encephalitis.info/what-is-encephalitis)
  2. About Encephalitis - (https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/e/encephalitis/preventing-encephalitis.html)

Source: Medindia

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