Encephalitis- what is the invisible disease?

A young woman is struggling to recognise her friends and even her parents because of a rare brain condition that's robbed her of her memory.

Hannah Read from Three Legged Cross in Dorset says she's now scared to leave the house living with the impact of the deadly brain infection Encephalitis.

However, Hannah says she's one of the lucky ones; without treatment, 8/10 people with the condition would die.

Now, on World Encephalitis Day (22/02) her family are calling for more parents to be aware of the devastating illness.

Watch this report by Richard Slee:

Hannah can't recognise herself in the mirror. She has the worst known case of face blindness in the country.

She also can't recognise many places or objects. Her sister has to explain the difference between a potato and an onion.

Hannah was 8 when she fell ill with Encephalitis. She has no memory of her life before that.

It is an invisible disease and life-changing for the patient and their families.

Hannah Read, Suffers from Encephalitis:

6,000 people a year are diagnosed with Encephalitis and without treatment, 8/10 people would die.

It sometimes starts with flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature or headache. Then more serious symptoms develop over the next few hours, days or weeks:

  • Confusion

  • Seizures or fits

  • Changes in behaviour or personality

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Loss of consciousness

It's important patients get emergency treatment as soon as possible, but Encephalitis is difficult to diagnose because it mimics so many other conditions.

Ava Eastin, CEO Encephalitis society:

Hannah hopes that she'll get better but until then, she relies on sister Mia to explain who's who in family photos.

Since her illness, Hannah and her family have raised £46,000 to help increase awareness of Encephalitis- an illness that can affect anyone at any time.

Hannah relies on sister Mia to explain who's who in family photos Credit: ITV Meridian

You can find more on Encephalitis here.