Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is also known as Japanese B encephalitis, This is a vector borne, zoonotic disease with high fatality, which has been occurring commonly in kerala since 1995.
The Japanese encephalitis virus is a virus from the family Flaviviridae. Domestic pigs and wild birds are reservoirs of the virus, transmission to humans may cause severe symptoms. The first major Japanese encephalitis outbreak in Kerala was reported in Alapuzha in 1995, when a large number of deaths were reported. One of the most important vectors of this disease is the mosquito, Culex tritaeniorhynchus.

Signs and Symptoms

Japanese encephalitis has an incubation period of 5 to 15 days and the vast majority of infections are asymptomatic, only 1 in 250 infections develop into encephalitis.
Severe rigors mark the onset of this disease in humans. Fever, headache and body malaise are other non-specific symptoms of this disease which may last for a period of between 1 and 6 days. Signs which develop during the acute encephalitic stage include neck rigidity, cachexia, hemiparesis, convulsions and a raised body temperature between 38 and 41 degrees Celsius.

Mortality of this disease varies but is generally much higher in children. Mental retardation may develop from this disease usually leads to coma. Transplacental spread has been noted. Neurological defects such as deafness, emotional liability and hemi paresis may occur in those who have had central nervous system involvement.
In known cases some effects also include nausea, headache, fever, vomiting and sometimes swelling of the testicles.


There is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis. Early symptomatic management with proper ICU support to reduce case mortality. Supportive treatment with assistance in feeding, breathing or seizure control as required.
Raised intracranial pressure may be managed with mannitol. There is no transmission from person to person and therefore patients do not need to be isolated.
The majority of Japanese encephalitis cases occur in children and hence it is important to disseminate information on early management and support to all paediatricians in the field.


Health Education, campaigns, and proper information regarding the prevention, this is the important things for the control of Japanese encephalitis. And the lack of a proper reporting system has been one of the major drawback. Proper confirmation of Japanese encephalitis also requires extensive laboratory support for testing blood as well as cerebrospinal fluid.


Vaccine against Japanese encephalitis has been found to be effective, vaccination is successful only in communities where it is total and sustained because the stress is on herd immunity rather than individual immunity. one-time vaccine which will provide life-long immunity against JE to children. It is a safe vaccine and has been in use in Japanese encephalitis endemic countries for the past 20 years

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