due to low awareness of the condition.
‘World Encephalitis Day is recognized every year on 22nd February to raise awareness about encephalitis since its first launch in 2014. To bring light upon the issue, the 2021 theme for World Encephalitis Day – “Lights, Camera, Action!” invites a vision of the world that is aware of encephalitis, its consequences, and the necessary support.’
Common symptoms of encephalitis involve high fever, headache, sensitivity to light, stiff neck and back, vomiting, confusion, drowsiness, psychiatric manifestations, and, in severe cases, seizures, paralysis, and coma.
The foremost aim of World Encephalitis Day is to promote awareness for encephalitis, partake in the journeys of affected ones and make their voices heard. To bring light upon the subject, the theme for World Encephalitis Day this year, 2021, is “Lights, Camera, Action!”
- Lights – Light up a local landmark Red for WED
- Camera – Wear Red for WED
- Actions – Raise Awareness (by engaging in various campaigns)
The Encephalitis Society sets to light up over 90 global landmarks worldwide to shine a light on encephalitis. To name a few, in 2017, they managed to light up Niagara Falls, the CN Tower in Toronto, the Bell Tower in Perth, and Trafalgar Square in London.
The supporters can go #Red4WED and induct campaigning near their local landmark by wearing anything in red, like red hats, caps, shoes, ties, or T-shirts. This also helps raise funds for the care of encephalitis patients.
Imparting Awareness on Encephalitis
Additional ventures like social media campaigns, fundraising events, donations, banners, placards, & posters displayed at locations, such as malls, community centers, hospitals, schools, and colleges help raise awareness for encephalitis among the general public.
Some of the leading global organizations dedicated to helping encephalitis patients include the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance, the Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation, Encephalitis 411, Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy SREAT Alliance (HESA), and Encephalitis Global.
Change begins with a single person with the power to help bring difference and save lives. Hence, a continued vision of a world aware of encephalitis, its consequences, and the support available, is a mandatory step to be taken on this World Encephalitis Day.
Quick Facts on Encephalitis
- Almost 60% of encephalitis cases remain undiagnosed
- Exposure to viruses through insect bites (Arboviruses), food or drink contamination, inhalation of respiratory droplets from an infected person, skin contact – are among the most common causes of viral encephalitis
- Encephalitis can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, or nationality
- Infants, older adults, and those with suppressed immune systems are particularly at risk of developing severe illness
- It is usually diagnosed via lumbar puncture (to collect spinal fluid – CSF), EEG, CT, or MRI
- The antiviral drugs, Acyclovir and Ganciclovir, can be used to treat specific forms of viral encephalitis along with supportive care
Let’s Wear Red and Get Loud on World Encephalitis Day
- WHO: Encephalitis, Viral – https://www.who.int/topics/encephalitis_viral/en/
- Statistics & Maps – https://www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis/tech/epi.html
- Encephalitis Facts & Figures – https://www.encephalitis.info/facts
- World Encephalitis Day 2021 – https://aealliance.org/world-encephalitis-day-2021/