World Encephalitis Day Date in the current year: February 22, 2024

World Encephalitis Day World Encephalitis Day is observed annually on February 22. It was created to increase global awareness of inflammation of the brain that has directly or indirectly affected millions of people around the world.

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain that can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, autoimmune diseases, certain medications, or even occur with no apparent cause. It can vary in severity; the most common symptoms include confusion, drowsiness, headache, fever, a stiff neck, and vomiting. Since encephalitis is hard to distinguish from many diseases that affect the brain, a number of tests are performed at the hospital to confirm or deny the diagnosis.

No one is immune to encephalitis; the disease can affect anyone regardless of their age, sex, or ethnicity. Several million people around the globe are affected by encephalitis every year, and more than 100,000 die from the disease. Some of those who survive are left with an acquired brain injury and experience long-term effects of encephalitis, which may include recurring headaches, fatigue, mood swings, changes in personality, seizures, problems with balance, concentration, memory or speech, and more.

Some types of encephalitis are preventable; vaccines are available against Japanese encephalitis and tick-born encephalitis. However, these are just two of the many types of encephalitis, so early diagnosis and treatment of encephalitis are instrumental to saving lives and preventing long-term complications.

World Encephalitis Day was launched in 2014 by Encephalitis Society, a UK-based nonprofit organization that provides information and support for those affected by encephalitis, raises encephalitis awareness, and helps fund research on the condition. The inaugural observance was a success, and World Encephalitis Day has been held annually ever since.

On the occasion of World Encephalitis Day, cities, towns, and municipalities around the world light up their landmarks in red to promote encephalitis awareness. Landmarks that were illuminated in the past years as part of the Light up a Landmark campaign include Niagara Falls, the fountains at Trafalgar Square in London, the Fountain of Two Rivers in Modena, the Swan Bells in Perth, Edinburgh Castle, and others.

Another World Encephalitis Day campaign is #Red4WED. Its participants are encouraged to wear something red, take a photo, and post it on social media with a caption explaining why it is important to know about encephalitis and the hashtag #Red4WED. If you want to directly support Encephalitis Society, you can buy an official World Encephalitis Day t-shirt for your photo.

Other events and activities held on World Encephalitis Day include seminars, webinars, open lectures, etc; they can be targeted at health professionals or the general public. You can get involved by participating in one of these events or organizing an event of your own, donating to an organization that supports encephalitis patients or funds research, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #WorldEncephalitisDay and #WED.

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