Shining a light on encephalitis for World Encephalitis Day, 2017.

Today is World Encephalitis Day – the global awareness day for people who have been affected by encephalitis. Founded by The Encephalitis Society in 2014, the day has subsequently helped to raise awareness among millions of people. This year the society is aiming to shine a light on this devastating condition which affects 500,000 people each year by illuminating iconic landmarks, local buildings and homes across the globe. While we are unable to light up our own offices, we are proud to help spread the word about encephalitis.

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. The inflammation is caused either by an infection invading the brain (infectious); or through the immune system attacking the brain in error (post-infectious or autoimmune Encephalitis). Some types of encephalitis are spread by mosquitoes (such as Japanese encephalitis), ticks (such as tick-borne encephalitis) and mammals (such as rabies).

Encephalitis sometimes starts off with flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature and headache, but these don’t always occur. More serious symptoms develop over hours, days or weeks, including:

  • confusion or disorientation
  • seizures (fits)
  • changes in personality and behaviour
  • difficulty speaking
  • weakness or loss of movement in some parts of the body
  • loss of consciousness


Some people will eventually make a full recovery from encephalitis, although this can be a long and frustrating process. But many people never make a full recovery and are left with long-term problems due to damage to their brain.

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