top of page
Search

Japanese Encephalitis in India: Symptoms, causes, treatment; can vaccination help?

GRDAJ 03.Dec.22:

A 4-year-old boy from Wadgaonsheri, Pune who was diagnosed with Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is now in rehabilitation phase. The child was admitted to Sassoon hospital in the first week of November and He had symptoms like fever, convulsions, altered sensorium, and was kept on ventilator support for nine days.


He reportedly underwent treatment for 18 days of treatment before being shifted to a ward and is now in the rehabilitation phase. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a flavivirus related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses, and is spread by mosquitoes. Although symptomatic Japanese encephalitis (JE) is rare, the case-fatality rate among those with encephalitis can be as high as 30%. Permanent neurologic or psychiatric sequelae can occur in 30%-50% of those with encephalitis. ( After first case of Japanese Encephalitis in Pune, samples of animals, mosquitoes sent to NIV for testing)


What is Japanese Encephalitis and why it is a cause of concern ?


"Japanese Encephalitis has been found to be of concern all over the country. Japanese Encephalitis is like any other viral infection, however, it has very high death rate. Japanese Encephalitis is again caused by bite from mosquito. So prevention from bite of mosquito remains the gold standard in case of dengue as well. The symptoms are usually very mild but rarely it can cause very severe symptoms affecting brain. It causes fever like symptoms, the person can also develop seizures, coma, paralytic attacks, behavioural disturbances, psychiatric issues. when a person develops Japanese Encephalitis of brain fever, the death rate is as high as 30% and those who recover, 30% to 50% of them are left with some permanent brain or psychiatric abnormalities throughout life," says Dr Ravindra Gupta, Dept of Internal Medicine at the CK Birla Hospital(R), Gurugram in a telephonic interview with HT Digital.


Is there a cure for Japanese Encephalitis?


"Unfortunately, there is no specific cure or antiviral drug or antibiotic for the disease. The treatment is totally symptomatic and depends on the self-recovery of the patients," says Dr Gupta.


Vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis


Japanese Encephalitis can be prevented by taking two shots of JE vaccine. This is recommended to be given in areas where Japanese Encephalitis is endemic and is very common.


"Two doses of vaccines are recommended 28 days apart. In elderly and in young, it can be given even after 7 days of the first dose if one wants rapid immunisation. Vaccination definitely helps in preventing serious complications and should always be undertaken to prevent serious cases of Japanese Encephalitis. Prevention remains the mainstay. Use mosquito nets, mosquito repellents, wear clothes which cover whole arms, wear socks to prevent mosquito bites," says Dr Gupta.