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I am Dr Ava Easton, Chief Executive of the Encephalitis Society.

Many of you reading this will not know what encephalitis is, and that’s a fact I worry about every single day.

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain – a neurological condition which affects over 500,000 people across the world each year – regardless of their age, sex or nationality. Encephalitis is more common, in many countries, than motor neurone disease/ALS, bacterial meningitis, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis, yet most people have never heard of it.

I have seen first-hand the devastation encephalitis leaves in its wake and since then, I’ve made encephalitis my life’s work

Encephalitis has a high death rate and, even then, those who survive can be left with an acquired brain injury and life-changing disabilities, such as epilepsy, chronic fatigue, profound memory problems, and changes in their personalities and behaviour.

And it is not just the person affected that is a victim – encephalitis affects families , in some cases leaving them grieving for the person they once knew

It is truly a global concern which is why we are calling on the World Health Organization and its Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to do two things:

1. feature World Encephalitis Day as one their World Health Campaigns.

2.  meet with me and our Scientific Advisory Panel to talk about why encephalitis matters and how we can further the encephalitis agenda more globally

We need the World Health Organization to agree that encephalitis matters, and to use their influence to highlight  a condition which we know 80% of people around the world are unaware of.


Thank you,


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