Definition of Disease...
Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral disease that
occurs chiefly in three areas: (1) China and Korea, (2) the
Indian sub-continent consisting of India, parts of Bangladesh,
southern Nepal, and Sri Lanka, and (3) the southeast Asian
countries of Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia,
Indonesia and the Philippines. Japanese encephalitis also
may occur with a lower frequency in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore,
Hong Kong, and eastern Russia. In all areas, Japanese encephalitis
is primarily a rural disease.
Transmission is usually seasonal, following the prevalence
of mosquitoes. In China, Korea and other temperate areas,
the transmission season extends through the summer and fall.
In other subtropical and tropical regions, risk is associated
with the rainy season, which varies in each country. For instance,
recent epidemics have occurred in northern India, Nepal, and
Sri Lanka, from October to December. However, in tropical
areas, sporadic cases may occur at any time of the year.
The chance that a traveler to Asia will develop Japanese
encephalitis is probably very small. Only 5 cases among Americans
traveling or working in Asia are known to have occurred since
1981. Only certain mosquito species are capable of transmitting
Japanese encephalitis. In areas infested with mosquitoes,
usually, only a small portion of the mosquitoes are actually
infected with Japanese encephalitis virus. Among persons who
are infected by a mosquito bite, only 1 in 50 to 1 in 1000
persons will develop an illness.
The majority of infected persons develop mild symptoms or
no symptoms at all. However, among persons who develop encephalitis,
the consequences of the illness may be grave.
Japanese encephalitis begins clinically as a flu-like illness
with headache, fever, and often gastrointestinal symptoms.
Confusion and disturbances in behavior also may occur at an
early stage. The illness may progress to a serious infection
of the brain i.e. encephalitis, and in one third of cases,
the illness may be fatal. Another one third of cases survive
with serious neurologic after effects such as paralysis or
other forms of brain damage, and the remaining one third of
cases recover without further problems. After the onset of
the infection, and until the illness has run its course, only
supportive treatment is available. Infection in pregnant women
during the first and second trimester have been associated
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Phone: (810) 694-5393
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