Japanese Encephalitis


    In Context 

    • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi have designed and demonstrated a new strategy for developing potential drug molecules  for treating various diseases like the Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)

    Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV)

    • About:
      • It is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and belongs to the same genus as dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses.
      • It is the most important cause of viral encephalitis in Asia.
      • The first case of Japanese encephalitis viral disease (JE) was documented in 1871 in Japan.
    • Transmission: 
      • JEV is transmitted to humans through bites from infected mosquitoes of the Culex species (mainly Culex tritaeniorhynchus). 
      • Humans, once infected, do not develop sufficient viraemia to infect feeding mosquitoes. The virus exists in a transmission cycle between mosquitoes, pigs and/or water birds (enzootic cycle). 
    • Occurrence: 
      • The disease is predominantly found in rural and periurban settings, where humans live in closer proximity to these vertebrate hosts.
        • In most temperate areas of Asia, JEV is transmitted mainly during the warm season, when large epidemics can occur.
      •  In the tropics and subtropics, transmission can occur year-round but often intensifies during the rainy season and pre-harvest period in rice-cultivating regions.
    • Prevention: 
      • There is no antiviral treatment for patients with JE. Treatment is supportive to relieve symptoms and stabilize the patient.
      • Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent JE
      • WHO recommends that JE vaccination be integrated into national immunization schedules in all areas where JE disease is recognized as a public health issue.
      • JE vaccination is also included under the Universal Immunisation Program of the Government of India.

    Government Initiatives

    • The National Programme for Prevention and Control of Japanese Encephalitis(JE)/ Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (NPPCJA),  follows a multi pronged strategy encompassing preventive (sanitation, safe drinking water, improvement in nutrition etc.), case management (capacity building of medical and para-medical staff, referral etc.) and rehabilitation (physical and social rehabilitation of disabled children).

    Source: TOI