Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a type of brain fever caused due to viral infection. JEV - a flavivirus - is closesly related to West Nile and St Louis encephalitis viruses.
Currently, the vector-borne disease has claimed lives of 27 children in Odisha's Malkangiri district.
Here are some facts about JEV, which is also the leading cause of viral encephalitis in Asia:
- Usually most people infected with JEV do not show symptoms. However, if symptoms develop, they will show 5 to 15 days after being infected. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, neurologic symptoms, weakness, mental retardation, coma, seizures, etc.
- JEV is transmitted to humans through bites from infected mosquitoes of the Culex species (mainly Culex tritaeniorhynchus).
- The virus can not only infect humans, but also horses and pigs, leading to encephalitis in horses and abortion in pigs.
- The risk of becoming infected with JEV is highest during and just after rainy seasons.
- There is no specific treatment and effective anti-viral drugs yet to cure this disease. But there is a safe and effective vaccine that can prevent the infection.
- Treatment is focused on relieving severe clinical signs and supporting the patient to overcome the infection. People infected with JEV are administered rest, fluids, pain relievers and medication to reduce fever that may some symptoms.
- Preventive measures include - timely vaccination, avoid getting mosquito bites by using insect repellents and wearing proper clothing, keep the surrounding areas clean, eat hygienic food etc.