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Encephalitis

You may not know this, but it is estimated that there are 6,000 new cases of encephalitis each year in the UK alone. If you are reading this, it may be that you or a loved one has been affected by encephalitis and requires support in dealing with the aftermath of the condition.

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain, which is caused either by an infection invading the brain or through the immune system attacking the brain in error. This condition is considered a medical emergency and needs to be diagnosed and treated urgently by healthcare professionals.

The types of symptoms seen in encephalitis may reflect the specific areas of the brain affected by inflammation. This range of possible symptoms and their rate of development vary widely and this can make the diagnosis of encephalitis difficult.

Encephalitis frequently begins with a ‘flu-like illness or headache, with more serious symptoms following hours to days later. The most serious finding is an alteration in level of consciousness. This can range from mild confusion or drowsiness, to loss of consciousness and coma. Other symptoms include:

  • a high temperature

  • seizures (fits)

  • aversion to bright lights

  • inability to speak or control movement

  • sensory changes

  • neck stiffness

  • uncharacteristic behaviour

Some people may also experience hallucinations and vivid nightmares during the acute period of the encephalitis. These can be very distressing for the person concerned and their family. This phase usually ceases as the inflammation and swelling of the brain subsides.*Information from The Encephalitis Society

If the condition is left untreated or misdiagnosed, this can lead to a patient receiving inappropriate medical care, the long-term complications for the individual affected can be severe, leading to an acquired brain injury; the degree and severity of which will vary according to the treatment received.

Unlike other conditions, anyone can be susceptible to encephalitis regardless of age, sex, nationality or culture. 

Learning of an encephalitis diagnosis can be incredibly daunting, with many families facing new challenges. The acquired brain injury is also often a hidden disability, which requires specialist clinical, therapeutic, rehabilitative interventions and support to assist your loved one and you adjust to a life following illness.

The team at Moore Blatch is highly knowledgeable and experienced in advising and supporting adults, young people and children as well as their families following an encephalitis diagnosis. Our specialist lawyers understand the complexities of brain injuries and will help you build the best possible case for compensation to ensure that you can provide your loved one with the ongoing medical services they require. The firm also has dedicated education and community care teams to ensure that future educational needs and ongoing care and support are accurately assessed and secured.

We are very aware that with a brain injury there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ cure and we will work with you to appoint a case manager and/or social worker that will ensure that your loved one receives the best medical care to suit their needs.

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