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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
EastEnder hit by brain infection
The Miller family in EastEnders
Joe Swash's character Mickey (far left) arrived in the Square in 2003
EastEnders actor Joe Swash, who plays Mickey Miller, has returned home from hospital after being diagnosed with brain infection meningoencephalitis.

The soap actor was taken ill last week and was taken to a London hospital.

A statement released by his agent said he had a "mild" form of the virus and was "on his way back to a complete recovery with no lasting effects".

Swash, who has featured heavily in recent storylines, is expected back to work at the soap in time for Christmas.

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue and is extremely rare, affecting four in every 100,000 people in the UK each year.

When the virus also attacks the linings of the brain (meninges) it is called meningoencephalitis.

The condition begins with flu-like symptoms and in some cases can be life-threatening.

The statement said: "Joe Swash returned home over the weekend following a brief spell in hospital.

"Joe wants to thank everyone for their support during the last few days. He has asked that he be given some time and privacy to relax and recover before he gets back to work."

The 23-year-old actor requires further rest, the statement added.

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