Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito borne viral disease associated with the inflammation of the brain.
This severe and potentially life-threatening disease is rare.
The illness occurs in two forms
Primary form - The primary form of the disease is more serious.
Secondary form - The secondary form is more common. But because of the milder nature of secondary encephalitis, more cases of primary encephalitis are seen.
The arbovirus is usually prevalent in the rural areas of many countries in Asia with epidemics breaking out every few years. It is the leading cause of viral encephalitis in Asia with 30-50,000 cases reported annually. The disease is widespread in China, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Nepal, Indonesia and South East Asia.
The disease is transferred from infected animals - usually pigs and wading birds - to humans. The incubation period of Japanese encephalitis
is 5-15 days. Majority of infections are asymptomatic. Only 1 in 250 infections develop into encephalitis.
The onset of this disease is marked by severe rigors. It is soon followed by altered mental status, seizures, tremors, headache, neck stiffness and/or sensitivity to light.
There is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis. No specific anti-viral drug
is available. Treatment aims at relieving the symptoms like pain and reducing the intracranial pressure. Some patients may require long-term care and rehabilitation for residual neurologic deficits.
Japanese encephalitis can be prevented by vaccination