Teenager's memory was wiped OVERNIGHT due to a brain-swelling condition

sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more

A teenager's memory was wiped overnight after her symptoms of a brain-swelling condition were misdiagnosed as school stress. 

Rafaela Domingos, now 17, started acting strange at home in front of parents, Jorge and Florbela, three years ago. She would sleepwalk and daydream.

Doctors said she had absent seizures - which sometimes cause a person to blankly stare for a few seconds - and believed it was brought on by stress.

Rafaela, of Ashford, Kent, was eventually diagnosed with encephalitis when she was taken to hospital after suffering a seizure at school. She didn't recognise her parents when they rushed to collect her.

Medics kept her in hospital overnight for tests. But during the night her memory was completely wiped. When her parents returned the next morning, she didn’t recognise them.

Tests later confirmed she had the serious condition, which is caused by the brain becoming swollen.  

Rafaela, who has now fully recovered from her ordeal - which saw her placed in a coma to try and save her life, was allowed home after 10 weeks in hospital. 

However, despite regaining most of her memories, she still cannot remember the two months before and after her encephalitis battle.

Rafaela Domingos, now 17, started acting strange at home

 Rafaela Domingos, now 17, started acting strange at home 

Rafaela, of Ashford, Kent, forgot who her parents, Jorge and Florbela, were. She had been having absence seizures in the run-up to her diagnosis of encephalitis

Rafaela, of Ashford, Kent, forgot who her parents, Jorge and Florbela, were. She had been having absence seizures in the run-up to her diagnosis of encephalitis

Rafaela has finally made a full recovery - but doesn't have any recollection of the period in her life. She is pictured recently at home

Rafaela has finally made a full recovery - but doesn't have any recollection of the period in her life. She is pictured recently at home

Her mother Mrs Dominos, a teaching assistant said: 'It was every parent's worst nightmare - she had no memory of me, her dad or even of herself.

'It was a fear unlike anything I've ever known - with her memory loss, it was like we'd lost her. 

'She looked at me blankly, with fear in her eyes - to have your own child looking at you with such terror, to not know you at all, it broke my heart into pieces.

'And as her condition worsened, the parts of memory she regained stopped and got worse - and she was so terrified she tried to run away.

'My own daughter was so scared, and felt so alone that she had tried to run from the hospital - because she didn't know her own family.

'I couldn't believe what had originally been diagnosed as stress turned into something so surreal and so horrific.' 

Mother Mrs Dominos, a teaching assistant, said her heart broke in pieces when her daughter looked at her blankly with fear in her eyes, unable to recognise her

Mother Mrs Dominos, a teaching assistant, said her heart broke in pieces when her daughter looked at her blankly with fear in her eyes, unable to recognise her

Rafaela spent two months in hospital (pictured) regaining her memory. Her condition was so severe she was put in a coma to save her life

Rafaela spent two months in hospital (pictured) regaining her memory. Her condition was so severe she was put in a coma to save her life

After a seizure at school, Rafaela was kept in hospital overnight for tests. Her memory was completely wiped and she didn't even recognise herself

After a seizure at school, Rafaela was kept in hospital overnight for tests. Her memory was completely wiped and she didn't even recognise herself

WHAT IS ENCEPHALITIS? 

Encephalitis is an uncommon but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed.

It can be life-threatening because when the brain swells it pushes downwards onto the brainstem. The brainstem is the part of the brain that controls the vital functions of breathing and circulation.  

Anyone can be affected, but the very young and very old are most at risk.

Encephalitis sometimes starts off with flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature and headache, but these don't always occur.

More serious symptoms develop over hours, days or weeks, which include confusion or disorientation, seizures, changes in personality and behaviour or loss of consciousness. 

It's not always clear what causes encephalitis, but it can be caused by viral infections. 

Either an infection invades the brain (infectious encephalitis is when an infection invades the brain, and post-infectious or autoimmune encephalitis is when the immune system attacks the brain in error.

Several common viruses can spread to the brain and cause encephalitis in rare cases, including the herpes simplex virus - which causes cold sores and genital herpes - and the chickenpox virus.

Up to 6,000 people are

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV Could a hot 'lipstick' end the misery of cold sores?
NEXT Handheld brain scanner could safeguard contact sport athletes from deadly brain ...