Sunday, October 9, 2016

Japanese Encephalitis in India

The Malkangiri district in India is experiencing a surge of deaths from Japanese encephalitis, a viral infection that can cause brain inflammation.  As of October 8th, the death toll had grown to 42, with two children being the most recent victims.  Though, while there is a vaccination for Japanese encephalitis, Dr. A.C. Dhariwal, the director of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, is not encouraging vaccination due to the worry that the vaccine could be falsely associated with the acquisition of the disease if it continues to spread.  He further emphasized that “We should not be too enthusiast [sic] to protect the community by vaccination during transmission period” as it did not work in two other Indian states, Tripura and Assam (Pradhan).   

Geographic Distribution of Japanese Encephalitis Risk Areas (CDC)
To add a little more about Japanese encephalitis, it is caused by Japanese encephalitis virus, a flavivirus.  It is transmitted to humans via Culex genus mosquitoes, but it “is maintained in a cycle between mosquitoes and vertebrate hosts, primarily pigs and wading birds.”  Because of its vector, its transmission is often seasonal and dependent on standing water for the mosquitoes.  While less than 1% of those infected get a serious illness, 20-30% of those that get encephalitis will die (“Japanese Encephalitis”).

Pradhan, Ashok.  “Japanese encephalitis vaccination may boomerang: Centre.”  The Times of India, 8 Oct. 2016.  Web.
“Japanese Encephalitis.”  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 August 2015.  Web.  9 Oct. 2016.

- Devon Zander

No comments: