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1-min read

Crucial Facts You Must Know about Deadly Japanese Encephalitis Virus

Japanese encephalitis virus infections can be asymptomatic or cause mild fever and headache with approximately one in 250 infections resulting in severe clinical illness.

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Updated:August 29, 2019, 1:56 PM IST
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Crucial Facts You Must Know about Deadly Japanese Encephalitis Virus
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Japanese encephalitis virus is considered to be the primary cause of encephalitis in Asia. The first case of the mosquito-borne disease was reported in 1871 in Japan, and there are nearly 68,000 estimated clinical cases of the viral disease reported every year, including approximately 13,600 to 20,400 deaths. Like other monsoon diseases, Japanese encephalitis cases peak during the rainy season, when the mosquitoes are most active.

Children are the most prone to Japanese encephalitis as most adults acquire a natural immunity after childhood infection. Japanese encephalitis virus is a flavivirus — a family of positive, single-stranded, enveloped RNA viruses found primarily in ticks and mosquitoes— related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses.

Japanese encephalitis is transmitted by infective bites of female mosquitoes primarily belonging to Culex tritaeniorhynchus, Culex vishnui and Culex pseudovishnui group. Japanese encephalitis virus primarily affects central nervous system with severe cases marked by rapid onset of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and even death.

Twenty-four countries in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions are exposed to the risk of infection due to Japanese encephalitis virus, according to the World Health Organization(WHO).

Japanese encephalitis virus infections can be asymptomatic or cause mild fever and headache with approximately 1 in 250 infections resulting in severe clinical illness. The case-fatality rate can be as high as 30% among those with disease symptoms.

Nearly 20%–30% of survivors suffer permanent intellectual, behavioural or neurological sequelae such as paralysis, recurrent seizures or the inability to speak.

There is no cure for the disease and treatment is focused on relieving symptoms and helping the patient to overcome the infection with the help.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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