Japanese Encephalitis

Definition

Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne infection that leads to swelling of the brain. It can affect the central nervous system and cause severe complications, even death.

Causes

Japanese encephalitis can occur if you are bitten by a mosquito infected with the virus.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of Japanese encephalitis include:
  • Living or traveling in certain rural parts of Asia—Outbreaks have occurred in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. These countries have controlled the disease through vaccinations . Other countries that still have periodic epidemics include Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, and Malaysia.
  • Employment as a lab worker, which may result in exposure to the virus.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Japanese encephalitis usually appear 5-15 days after the bite from an infected mosquito.Japanese encephalitis may cause:
  • Agitation
  • Brain damage
  • Chills
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions (especially in infants)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Neck stiffness
  • Paralysis
  • Tiredness
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Tests may include the following:
  • Blood tests to look for antibodies
  • Cerebrospinal fluid tests to evaluate the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord
Imaging tests to assess the brain include:

Treatment

Since there is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis. Care is focused on treating specific symptoms and complications.

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