Encephalitis

  • Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain – a devastating neurological condition.
  • Anyone can be affected by encephalitis irrespective of age, sex or ethnicity.
  • 500,000 children and adults are affected by encephalitis every year, that is one person every minute.
  • Symptoms of encephalitis vary but can include flu-like illness or headache, drowsiness, uncharacteristic behaviour, inability to speak or control movement and seizures.
  • Death rates are high.
  • Survivors can be left with an acquired brain injury resulting in epilepsy, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, problems with memory and personality.
  • COVID-19 also causes neurological complications like encephalitis and therefore research exploring links between the virus and its impact on patients is essential.
  • There is low awareness of the condition – 77% of people globally do not know what encephalitis is ([1]) despite the fact that in many countries it has a higher incidence than multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease (ALS), bacterial meningitis, and cerebral palsy.

World Encephalitis Day

  • World Encephalitis Day on 22 February is a day which celebrates and honours the millions of lives affected by encephalitis, which is brain inflammation.
  • Encephalitis Society leads World Encephalitis Day every year and asks people to show their support by wearing red as part of their #Red4Wed campaign.
  • Since its launch in 2014, World Encephalitis Day has reached over 236 million people worldwide through social and traditional media.

Encephalitis Society

  • The Encephalitis Society is a multi-award-winning charity and the leading global resource providing support and information, raising awareness of the condition, and collaborating in research.
  • The Encephalitis Society is the principal organisation working with world-class scientists, researchers and global institutions to drive essential research into diagnosis, management, treatment and rehabilitation of the condition.

Become a member of the Encephalitis Society

You can help us move towards a world aware of encephalitis by making a £10 donation to support World Encephalitis Day today. Thank you. Donate Now


[1] * All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Sample sizes and 2021 field work dates varied according to country (Five countries were surveyed: UK, USA, Germany, India, and Australia). By people we mean adults (aged 18+) in the general public.  The 77% people statistic is a mean of the five countries surveyed and was calculated by The Encephalitis Society by identifying incorrect answers to the YouGov Plc survey question ‘in your own words, please type in the box below what you understand the word encephalitis to be/mean’ and reflecting this information in a recalculation of YouGov Plc’s question ‘yes I have heard of encephalitis and know what is it’.