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Recently a 4-year-old boy from Pune's Wadgaonsheri was diagnosed with Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and is now in rehabilitation phase.

In the first week of November, the child was admitted to Sassoon hospital and had symptoms like fever, convulsions, altered sensorium, and was kept on ventilator support for nine days. He also reportedly underwent treatment for 18 days of treatment before being shifted to a ward and is now in the rehabilitation phase.

What is JE:

As per World Health Organisation (WHO), the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a flavivirus related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses, and is spread by mosquitoes.

ALSO READ: Japanese Encephalitis: return of the old scourge?

Though symptomatic JE is rare in India, the case-fatality rate among those with encephalitis can be as high as 30%. While, permanent neurologic or psychiatric sequelae can occur in 30%–50% of those with encephalitis.

"Japanese Encephalitis has been found to be of concern all over the country. Japanese Encephalitis is like any other viral infection, however, it has very high death rate. Japanese Encephalitis is again caused by bite from mosquito. So prevention from bite of mosquito remains the gold standard in case of dengue as well," HT Digital quoted CK Birla Hospital's Dr Ravindra Gupta as saying.

"The symptoms are usually very mild but rarely it can cause very severe symptoms affecting brain. It causes fever like symptoms, the person can also develop seizures, coma, paralytic attacks, behavioural disturbances, psychiatric issues. when a person develops Japanese Encephalitis of brain fever, the death rate is as high as 30% and those who recover, 30% to 50% of them are left with some permanent brain or psychiatric abnormalities throughout life," Dr Gupta added.

Cure for Japanese Encephalitis:

"Unfortunately, there is no specific cure or antiviral drug or antibiotic for the disease. The treatment is totally symptomatic and depends on the self-recovery of the patients," says Dr Gupta.

JE vaccine:

JE can be prevented by taking two shots of JE vaccine. Its recommended to be given in areas where Japanese Encephalitis is endemic and is very common.

"Two doses of vaccines are recommended 28 days apart. In elderly and in young, it can be given even after 7 days of the first dose if one wants rapid immunisation. Vaccination definitely helps in preventing serious complications and should always be undertaken to prevent serious cases of Japanese Encephalitis. Prevention remains the mainstay. Use mosquito nets, mosquito repellents, wear clothes which cover whole arms, wear socks to prevent mosquito bites," says Dr Gupta.

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