World Encephalitis Day 2022

Today is World Encephalitis Day, every year encephalitis is recognised on February 22nd.  Encephalitis is a code red condition, showing the need to raise global awareness– so wear something red today!

What is Encephalitis?

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain that can be caused by an infection(infectious encephalitis) or through the immune system (post-infectious or autoimmune encephalitis) attacking the brain.  Some important things to know about encephalitis:

  1. Encephalitis can affect anyone – regardless of age, gender or ethnicity
  2. It has a high death rate and survivors are often left with an acquired brain injury and life-changing consequences
  3. It is more common in many countries than motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, bacterial meningitis, and cerebral palsy
  4. 78% of people worldwide do not know what encephalitis is.

Signs and Symptoms

Infectious encephalitis usually begins with a ‘flu-like illness’ or headache whereas Autoimmune encephalitis often has a longer onset.  The symptoms can be rapid but may also take days, sometimes weeks to appear.  The most common symptoms are headache, confusion, drowsiness, fever, seizures, memory problems, altered personality or uncharacteristic behaviour or the inability to speak or control movements.

Recovery after an injury to the brain can often take much longer than injuries to muscles or bones.  That is why it is important to look at the role rehabilitation can play in helping people learn new skills and find coping strategies for any long term disabilities.  That is why it is good to take a holistic approach to rehabilitation. This ensures that the complex cognitive, behavioural, social, emotional and medical problems faced by people affected by encephalitis and their families are considered.

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

Physiotherapists can play an integral role by removing barriers and encouraging people to exercise to help improve everyday tasks.  Physiotherapy programmes such as exercise therapy, gait rehabilitation, the Otago programme and balance training can help with everyday tasks by improving:

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Motor coordination
  • Mobility

What You Can Do?

You can help raise awareness of encephalitis by taking part in BrainWalk 2022.  Join in the World Encephalitis Day 2022 fundraising challenge by going for a walk, jog or run (if you are feeling dynamic).  The target is 500,000 steps in February, so no matter where you are join the BrainWalk and bring the world one step closer to learning more about encephalitis

To help raise awareness learn more about encephalitis on our Physiopedia page.  As well as rehabilitation advice you can give, you will learn more about encephalitis, how it is diagnosed and the importance of rehabilitation.

#WorldEncephalitisDay and #Red4WED