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January 21, 2019
Contact: Sunny Stephens / 615-478-1369 /

Series of events to raise awareness about encephalitis, a life-altering and sometimes fatal brain injury

DALLAS, TX – On Friday, February 22, survivors of encephalitis, their families and caregivers, along with some members of the medical community, will observe World Encephalitis Day. Encephalitis is a devastating brain injury that impacts more than 20,000 Americans and nearly half a million people around the globe each year, killing many, and leaving countless others with significant impairment. In Dallas, and around the world, the day is marked with educational webinars, survivor/caregiver meetings, and city skylines lit up in red.

Over the past decade, DFW has been hit hard by neuro-invasive West Nile virus, leaving an unprecedented epidemic mark on our community. It is estimated that in Dallas alone there are more than 1,500 individuals living with the aftermath of encephalitis (many as the result of neuro-invasive West Nile), including memory, mobility, speech, sleep and personality disorders, among others.

“ exists to improve the quality of life for those impacted by encephalitis, and Dallas is our focus this year,” said Becky Dennis, Board President and author of Amazon’s top-rated book, Brain Wreck. “On World Encephalitis Day, we raise awareness in several different ways in hopes of connecting with each of those local families impacted, and reaching even bigger audiences via our webcast learning series.”

A series of events will be held in the Dallas area to mark World Encephalitis Day here in the U.S. Details about these events can be found at

  • Educational Webinars: Friday, February 22 – A series of webinars will be available for anyone to watch, across the country, focusing on different aspects of encephalitis, including experiences from caregivers, physicians, survivors and therapists. Learn about coping mechanisms based on their journeys, and learn about support services available for those impacted by this illness.
  • Buildings Lit in Red to Raise Awareness: Friday, February 22 – In conjunction with Encephalitis411, and other organizations worldwide, KPMG Plaza, Bank of America Plaza, and the Omni Hotel will light the Dallas skyline in red aiming to increase encephalitis awareness – highlighting the need for rapid diagnosis, and comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation protocols for those who survive, and honoring those who have died.
  • Material Handouts to Raise Awareness: Friday, February 22 – Students in the Health Sciences Department at National Park College in Hot Springs, Arkansas will be distributing brochures and various information about encephalitis, and inviting the public to sit in and watch the educational webinars.
  • Survivors/Caregivers Meeting: Saturday, February 23 – Attendees will meet fellow survivors and caregivers, and hear from clinicians about brain plasticity. Staff from Pate Rehabilitation and the Center for BrainHealth will join us in the Connection Room at the LifePoint Church at 4501 Hedgcoxe Road in Plano at 1:30 pm.

“There are many efforts we are undertaking to improve the diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation for encephalitis patients,” said Dr. Arun Venkatesan, Encephalitis411 board, neurologist and Director of the Johns Hopkins Encephalitis Center. “We recognize the need for further research to improve outcomes in this important patient population.”

“The numerous causes leading to encephalitis, along with the wide range of recovery, adds to the mystery of this group of disorders,” said David Salisbury, Psy.D., ABPP, and Clinical Director at Pate Rehabilitation. “Our staff has assisted in addressing the rehabilitation needs for many patients and consistently find that earlier treatment proves more effective. Education about short-term and long-term treatment options for those with ongoing rehabilitation needs is a necessary first step to improve the quality of life for those who have experienced complications related to encephalitis.”

“As a survivor of this devastating illness and having met hundreds of other survivors and amazing physicians, I understand the severe impact encephalitis can have on individuals, families, friends, and society in general,” said Dennis. “My colleagues and I want to change the encephalitis landscape, and mark World Encephalitis Day with several events to help increase awareness.”


About World Encephalitis Day (WED)
Initiated by the Encephalitis Society of the UK, this date is set aside each year to raise awareness of this brain disorder. was founded as a U.S. based nonprofit, to also raise awareness, and to directly impact those who live in the U.S. Encephalitis411 encourages all survivors, caregivers, advocates, and medical professionals to wear RED on February 22nd, and to talk about encephalitis.

About Encephalitis411
Encephalitis411 has a 3-pronged mission of research, awareness and advocacy for those impacted by encephalitis. This U.S. based organization, backed by physicians across multiple disciplines at major institutions, seeks to increase awareness and advance research of this life-threatening, life-altering brain disorder. Encephalitis411 aims to advocate for those impacted by encephalitis, resulting in early diagnosis and best possible treatment outcomes.


Contact: Sunny Stephens