Japanese Encephalitis – UPSC Prelims

What is Japanese Encephalitis?
  • Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus.
  • It belongs to the same genus as dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses.
  • The first case of JE was documented in 1871 in Japan.
  • JE primarily affects children.
  • Most adults in endemic countries have natural immunity after childhood infection, but individuals of any age may be affected.
  • It is transmitted by rice field breeding mosquitoes (primarily Culex tritaeniorhynchus group).
  • The mosquitoes transmit JE by feeding on domestic pigs and wild birds infected with the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV).
  • It is not transmitted from person-to-person.
Disease outbreaks:
  • Major JE outbreaks occur every 2-15 years.
  • JE transmission mainly intensifies during the rainy season, during which vector populations increase.
Signs and symptoms:
  • Most JE infections are mild (fever and headache) or without apparent symptoms, but it may result in severe clinical illness.
  • Severe infection is marked by quick onset, headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, stupor, occasional convulsions (especially in infants) etc.
Treatment: There is no specific therapy. Intensive supportive therapy is indicated.

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