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Japanese Encephalitis – An Overview

Japanese encephalitis

is a from of viral disease which infects humans as well as animals. The disease is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes. In the humans, the disease causes membrane inflammation around the brain. Over the past 20 years, expansion and intensification of rice production in South East Asia and other neighboring countries have a huge impact on Japanese encephalitis. Each of the cropping cycle results in a increase in the mosquito population. This leads to the circulation of the virus from the usual hosts (pigs and birds) to the human population. Read on to know more Japanese encephalitis.

An Overview of Japanese Encephalitis

This disease is mainly caused by a type of flavivirus. This virus affects the membranes surrounding the brain. Most of the viral infections are mild (headache and fever) or without any symptoms. Although, 1 in 200 infections may result in a severe disease. This severe form of the disease include symptoms like:

  • Spastic paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Disorientation
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Death

Patients exhibiting disease symptoms may have 60% of case fatality rate whereas 30% of surviving patients suffer from permanent damage to the CNS (central nervous system). In regions where the Japanese encephalitis virus is rampant, the encephalitis mainly occurs in young children as the older children have already immune after suffering the infection.

Distribution of Japanese Encephalitis

In Asia, Japanese encephalitis is one of the main cause of viral encephalitis with nearly 30,000 to 50,000 clinical cases being reported every year. This disease occurs from Papua New Guinea in the south to Korea in the north. Also, it is widely spread from the Pakistani border in the west to the Western Pacific islands in the east. The distribution of the JE virus is linked to irrigated rice production along with pig rearing.

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