What is Japanese encephalitis?

Japanese encephalitis is a form of viral infection in the brain spread by mosquitoes. The virus is spread once mosquitoes bite on infected animals, usually birds and pigs. Once this occurs, it can spread from one individual to another.

At the present, there is no available cure for the condition. In most cases, the treatment is aimed on supporting the bodily functions as it attempts to fight the infection. Hospitalization is usually needed so that intravenous fluids, oxygen and drugs are given to manage any symptoms.

What are the signs?

In most cases of Japanese encephalitis, there are no signs present or only mild and brief that can be mistaken as the flu.

Nevertheless, there are instances where severe symptoms manifest as the infection involves the brain. This can occur 5-15 days after being infected and usual signs that might arise include:

  • Sneezing Coughing Outdoors

    In most cases of Japanese encephalitis, there are no signs present or only mild and brief that can be mistaken as the flu.

    Fever

  • Stiff neck
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Tremors

There have been reported cases of death especially those that have serious symptoms. Among those who survive the infection, the symptoms will eventually but slowly improve. However, it might take months to completely recover and half of survivors are left with lasting damage to the brain.

Preventive measures

The ideal way to prevent the condition is to receive the vaccination against the infection before visiting parts of the globe with reported cases. Remember that there is a higher risk if planning to visit rural regions or engage in camping or hiking.

Even if vaccinated, it is vital to observe measures to lower the risk of being bit by infected mosquitoes such as:

  • Protect the body by wearing long-sleeved tops, pants and socks
  • Sleep in rooms with gauze placed over the windows and doors. If sleeping outdoors, utilized mosquito nets that were treated with an insecticide.
  • Apply an insect repellent on exposed areas of skin.

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