Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral infection, the leads the cause of viral encephalitis in Asia.

The Japanese Encephalitis virus may not be transmitted from individual to individual. Nearly 50,000 of Japanese Encephalitis cases are reported annually from Japan, China, Japanese EncephalitisSoutheast Asia, Korea, India, Oceania. Japanese Encephalitis virus is related to the St Louis encephalitis virus, West Nile virus, and Murray Valley encephalitis. Such virus leads to overt encephalitis in only one of 20 to 1000 cases.Incubation period of Japanese Encephalitis is usually five to fifteen days.

Mild virus happens without apparent signs other than headacche with fever. More severe infections include headache, neck stiffness, coma, high fever, disorientation, stupor, rarely-spastic paralysis, tremors, occasional convulsions (mostly in infants). Severe Japanese Encephalitis results in fatal outcome in 25% of such viruses and residual neuro-psychiatric problems in about 30% of cases.

Limited data shows that Japanese Encephalitis acquired during miscarriage and the 1st or 2nd pregnancy trimesters. The Japanese Encephalitis virus is transmitted seasonally. In temperate places, it is transmitted during early fall and summer (from May to September). In tropical and subtropical regions, seasonal viral transmission patterns are correlated with the vertebrate-amplifying hosts and vector mosquitoes. These, in turn, fluctuate with the rainy seasons, rainfall, and with migratory avan-amplifying hosts pattern. In some tropical regions, however, irrigation related to agricultural practices is a more important cause affecting vector abundance, and transmission can happen round-year.

Overall, the risk of acquiring Japanese Encephalitis while traveling in Asia is low. However, the traveler risk is highly variable and depends on such factors as location and duration of travel, season, and person’s activities. Travel during rural areas exposure and transmission season, especially for long period of time, are the main factors contributing to risk. The extent and outdoor activity nature, repellents, bed nets, protective clothing use, an well screened or air-conditioned rooms are additional factors affecting exposure. Developed countries’ residents usually do not have natural immunity to the Japanese Encephalitis virus and all ages travelers are equally susceptible to such virus infection.

An elderly person can be more susceptible to develop Neuroinvasive disease. There are no specific treatment exist. Intensive supportive therapy is recommended. Avaccine to prevent Japanese Encephalitis is necessary for individuals planning to reside in regions where Japanese Encephalitis is prevalent (epidemic or endemic during a transmission period). Vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis is not recommended for all people traveling to Asia. Usually, the vaccine is offered to individuals, who intend to spend a month or longer in endemic regions during the transmission seasons.

In all instances, travelers must be adviced to take personal precautions to reduce mosquito bite exposure.

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