Woman catches ‘cold’ from son, loses 20 years of memories

01:48 PM Feb 24, 2022 | Team Udayavani |

In a strange case, a 43-year-old mother lost 20 years of memories after contracting a dangerous disease that began with a cold.


Claire Muffett-Reece claimed she caught a cold from her son one night in 2021. She couldn’t recall much from the previous 20 years when she awoke the next morning.

Her condition deteriorated, and she ended up in a coma for 16 days.

Claire shared her experience on Steph’s Packed Lunch to commemorate World Encephalitis Day. Scott, her husband, was also present.

Scott recalled that his wife had been sick for two weeks with a virus she had gotten up from their son, Max. Her condition, however, began to rapidly deteriorate afterwards.


The night before Father’s Day, she went to bed and had to be brought to the hospital the next morning.

“She then had a rush to the hospital, where she started seizing. And then they put her on a ventilator, where she stayed on for a week before she was then transferred to Royal London Hospital, where the condition was diagnosed from there,” said Scott.

Claire was initially diagnosed with a brain bleed, according to physicians. However, later examinations indicated that she had encephalitis.

Things began to deteriorate. Claire had lost her memory two weeks after being hospitalised to the Royal London Hospital.

Claire said, “I wasn’t in the best space, I was hallucinating, quite delusional at that stage – which is quite normal if you’ve been on a ventilator. I thought there were wasps in the ceiling or flies were getting in my ears. It was quite strange,”

The 43-year-old remembered the faces of family members but had forgotten important life events such as marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, and holidays.

She experiences ‘small pings’ or flashes that transport her to long-forgotten memories. Everything else, though, remains a mystery.

She has resumed her career as a journalist after a long hiatus. She is hoping that her memories would come back for good.


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