What is Shane MacGowan's illness viral encephalitis? | The Sun

WIFE of music icon Shane MacGowan has revealed her husband is in hospital with viral encephalitis.

The Fairytale of New York singer has been in intensive care for months after being diagnosed with the 'brain swelling disease' last year.

In a post on social media, Victoria Mary Clarke shared pictures of theThe Pogues singer in a hospital bed with a breathing apparatus.

On X, formally known as Twitter, she thanked everyone for their kind messages and support while Shane battles a dangerous brain condition in hospital.

She wrote: "I just wanted to say a massive thanks to everyone who has been messaging me and ⁦@ShaneMacGowan⁩ and thank you ⁦@spiderstacy⁩ and Terry Woods for coming to visit him.

"Love and prayers for everyone who is struggling right now. Hang in there!"

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The British celeb has been hospitalised a number of times since the diagnosis and was thought to have been admitted again in June, but Victoria has not revealed the exact reasons why.

What is viral encephalitis?

Encephalitis is a rare but serious condition which causes the sufferer's brain to swell.

It can be deadly and requires urgent treatment in hospital.

The 65-year-old singer has been receiving treatment in hospital for months.

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Anyone can be affected by the disease but the very young and elderly are most at risk.

A number of medications and injections are capable of calming encephalitis symptoms.

Some people are able to make a full recovery, but others will be affected by persistent symptoms, as a result of damage to the brain, for the rest of their lives.

Having up-to-date, complete vaccines for any country you're traveling to is the best way to prevent encephalitis.

What are the symptoms of encephalitis?

According to the NHS website, symptoms can start off flu-like – including a high temperature and headache – but this isn't always the case.

More serious symptoms develop over hours, days or weeks, including:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Changes in personality and behaviour
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Weakness or loss of movement in some parts of the body
  • Loss of consciousness

If someone has any of these more serious symptoms, dial 999 immediately.

According to the Encephalitis Society, a charity which supports people affected by all types of encephalitis, fewer than two per cent of people die from the viral infection.

A vaccine is available privately for tick-borne encephalitis.

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What causes it?

It's not always clear what triggers encephalitis, but it's often caused by common viruses, such as:

  • herpes simplex viruses, which cause cold sores (this is the most common cause of encephalitis)
  • the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles
  • measles, mumps and rubella viruses
  • viruses spread by animals, such as tick-borne encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, rabies (and possibly Zika virus)

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