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Please read before continuing:

We would ask that prior to proceeding further in your search for information about Encephalitis you take a few moments to read and consider the comments below.

In some instances where people are affected by Encephalitis the long-term prognosis can be very good, with many people coming through the illness with little or no difficulties. However because there are occasions where more severe problems can occur, we have had to make our information as broad and far-reaching as possible. Therefore the details provided in the forthcoming web pages are fairly extensive. Taking this into account we would ask that anyone seeking information consider the following factors.

The difficulties stated in the information are not reflective of every situation where Encephalitis is involved and that some of the information stated may not be relevant to your situation.

Taking into account the emotional strain that a diagnosis of Encephalitis may bring coupled with the amount of information available through our website consideration may be required into gauging how much information is accessed at any one time.

The information provided on the website is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician.

The Encephalitis Society is a member of the Information Standard Scheme. We were delighted to be accredited in February 2011, therefore we are adding the Information Standard logo to all our health and social care information we produce. The Encephalitis Society shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information they publish and neither the Scheme Operator nor the Scheme Owner shall have any responsibility whatsoever for costs, losses or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of The Encephalitis Society.


Should any of the information raise issues or give you reason for concern we would ask that you contact the office via our support line 01653 699599 or alternatively we can be contacted by email on support@encephalitis.info

Thank you,

The Encephalitis Society



Recovery and Rehabilitation

By Ava Easton, The Encephalitis Society

The acute phase of the illness (the time of active brain inflammation) can last anything from a few days to several  weeks.  In some cases the person may be in a coma for a much longer period.  The acute stage may be followed by a phase of fairly rapid improvement which slows down but recovery can continue over the years to come.  No two cases of Encephalitis will have an identical outcome.

Outcomes vary between those who are able to return to their former work and lifestyle (with perhaps only a slight change in their abilities) to those left profoundly disabled, physically, cognitively or both.  A small percentage of those affected by Encephalitis will need to remain in residential care for the rest of their lives.

Nerve cells may be damaged or destroyed by both the infection and inflammation. The resulting damage is termed an acquired brain injury (ABI).  The loss of brain function from ABI can range from very minor impairment, such as some loss in speed of thinking, to more significant impairments. The degree and type of damage will vary according to the cause, the severity of the inflammation, the parts of the brain affected, and any delay in treatment.  It is this combination which will determine the pattern of difficulties that remain after the illness. Significant changes may occur in personality and in the ability to function day to day even if there is a complete physical recovery.  Coming to terms with these problems can be very distressing and challenging for everyone concerned.  The person you knew, or who was you, may have changed and the person they have become, or you have become, may present with a number of problems.

During the early days, weeks or months after Encephalitis, the main aim is to provide a safe environment and gentle stimulation to encourage the process of spontaneous recovery.  In the later stages, when spontaneous recovery slows or stops, the main aims are to help the individual affected by Encephalitis develop new skills, habits and strategies for coping with any remaining difficulties.

It is important not to underestimate the time that the person and the whole family will need to adjust, in both practical and emotional terms, to their new situation.  Those involved have, in effect, suffered a complicated form of bereavement; it is not unrealistic, therefore, to think of allowing several months and sometimes years to come to terms with what has happened.  The kind of knowledge needed in order to come to terms and cope with these problems does not reside in the pages of a medical textbook nor with medical expert - it comes from knowing what it is really like to have had Encephalitis.


FS035V1 Recovery and Rehabilitation- General Considerations Page Created: July 2013 Review date: July 2015

We try to ensure that the information is easy to understand, accurate and up-to-date as possible. Please refer to the Medical Terms Glossary if necessary. None of the authors of the above document has declared any conflict of interest which may arise from being named as an author of this document. If you would like more information on the source material and references the author used to write this page please contact the Encephalitis Society.