Encephalitis is indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age.

Sadly, as in Dee Dee's case, we often see children affected be encephalitis. The nature of the condition (the rapid onset, the serious symptoms and the uncertainty of the prognosis) can make a very traumatic experience for the family. The impact on the child and their family can be devastating and leave a lasting legacy which continues into adulthood.

We provide support via our support line, accredited information about encephalitis and the after-effects for families, carers, health and educational professionals, organising educational and recreational events and conferences, raise awareness worldwide and promote research.

Key Facts

  • Encephalitis is inflammation (swelling) of the brain. Anyone can be affected by encephalitis irrespective of age, gender or ethnicity.
  • There are up to 6,000 cases new cases each year in the UK and there are many more thousands worldwide.
  • 1 person every minute is diagnosed with encephalitis worldwide.
  • Encephalitis can be caused by an infection (e.g. virus, bacteria, fungus) or by the autoimmune system attacking the brain in error. In some cases, a specific cause is not found despite extensive testing.
  • The variety of causes and presentations along with the rapid onset (often dramatic) may make the management of this condition a challenge for clinicians.
  • Early and adequate diagnosis and treatment improve the outcomes.
  • The length of time spent in hospital (acute illness) can vary from days and weeks in some cases to months in others.
  • Children may recover after the illness with little or no effects or they may be left with an acquired brain injury (ABI) that can result in various difficulties. Some of these difficulties may become obvious after returning home from hospital when the child goes back to school or years later when the child uses new skills.

If your child has been affected by encephalitis and you need information about the condition, its effects, recovery and rehabilitation and returning to school, please visit the Encephalitis in Children section of the website and download or order a copy of our resource, Encephalitis in Children. A Guide.

Our support team is here for you if you and your family need information or support about encephalitis. 

Contact our support team