DefinitionJapanese 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.
CausesJapanese encephalitis can occur if you are bitten by a mosquito infected with the virus.
Risk FactorsFactors 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.
SymptomsSymptoms of Japanese encephalitis usually appear 5-15 days after the bite from an infected mosquito.Japanese encephalitis may cause:
- Brain damage
- Convulsions (especially in infants)
- Neck stiffness
DiagnosisYour 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
TreatmentSince there is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis. Care is focused on treating specific symptoms and complications.
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