Health Watch
  • Observed on 22nd February every year, World Encephalitis Day strives to raise awareness about encephalitis
  • Understanding the condition allows in better tackling of the disease
  • Unified ventures taken on World Encephalitis Day help raise measures to improve the quality of life in encephalitis patients

World Encephalitis Day is celebrated every year on 22nd February to raise awareness about encephalitis. The Encephalitis Society launched World Encephalitis Day (WED) in 2014. Since then, it has reached 187 million people worldwide through media features, events, and social media.

What is Encephalitis?

Encephalitis is a devastating neurological condition characterized by the inflammation of the brain due to varied causes (viral infection most commonly) followed by permanent brain injury and disability among the survivors.

Every year, 500,000 children and adults are affected by encephalitis that is one person every minute.
World Encephalitis Day (WED): Light Up and Wear Red for WED

Although the condition has a high incidence and is nearly fatal if untreated, 78% of people do not know about encephalitis due to low awareness of the condition.

Common symptoms of encephalitis involve high fever, headache, sensitivity to light, stiff neck and back, vomiting, confusion, drowsiness, psychiatric manifestations, and, in severe cases, seizures, paralysis, and coma.


The foremost aim of World Encephalitis Day is to promote awareness for encephalitis, partake in the journeys of affected ones and make their voices heard. To bring light upon the subject, the theme for World Encephalitis Day this year, 2021, is "Lights, Camera, Action!"
  • Lights - Light up a local landmark Red for WED
  • Camera - Wear Red for WED
  • Actions - Raise Awareness (by engaging in various campaigns)
The Encephalitis Society sets to light up over 90 global landmarks worldwide to shine a light on encephalitis. To name a few, in 2017, they managed to light up Niagara Falls, the CN Tower in Toronto, the Bell Tower in Perth, and Trafalgar Square in London.

The supporters can go #Red4WED and induct campaigning near their local landmark by wearing anything in red, like red hats, caps, shoes, ties, or T-shirts. This also helps raise funds for the care of encephalitis patients.

Imparting Awareness on Encephalitis

Additional ventures like social media campaigns, fundraising events, donations, banners, placards, & posters displayed at locations, such as malls, community centers, hospitals, schools, and colleges help raise awareness for encephalitis among the general public.

Some of the leading global organizations dedicated to helping encephalitis patients include the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance, the Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation, Encephalitis 411, Hashimoto's Encephalopathy SREAT Alliance (HESA), and Encephalitis Global.

Change begins with a single person with the power to help bring difference and save lives. Hence, a continued vision of a world aware of encephalitis, its consequences, and the support available, is a mandatory step to be taken on this World Encephalitis Day.

Quick Facts on Encephalitis

  • Almost 60% of encephalitis cases remain undiagnosed
  • Exposure to viruses through insect bites (Arboviruses), food or drink contamination, inhalation of respiratory droplets from an infected person, skin contact - are among the most common causes of viral encephalitis
  • Encephalitis can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, or nationality
  • Infants, older adults, and those with suppressed immune systems are particularly at risk of developing severe illness
  • It is usually diagnosed via lumbar puncture (to collect spinal fluid - CSF), EEG, CT, or MRI
  • The antiviral drugs, Acyclovir and Ganciclovir, can be used to treat specific forms of viral encephalitis along with supportive care
Let's Wear Red and Get Loud on World Encephalitis Day

References :
  1. WHO: Encephalitis, Viral -
  2. Statistics & Maps -
  3. Encephalitis Facts & Figures -
  4. World Encephalitis Day 2021 -

Source: Medindia

Most Popular on Medindia