Japanese Encephalitis Current Affairs - 2019
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A seven-year-old in Kerala has been detected with the West Nile Virus. The central government has sent the team to the state and is monitoring the case closely.
What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile Virus is a viral infection which typically spread by mosquitoes and results in neurological disease as well as death in people.
The Virus is the member of the flavivirus genus and belongs to the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of the family Flaviviridae. It was first detected in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937 and was later identified in birds (crows and Columbiformes) in the Nile delta region in 1953.
Spread of Disease
The disease spreads through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are infected when they feed on infected birds. The virus then circulates in blood and multiplies. The virus also travels to salivary glands from where it is injected into humans as well as animals through mosquito bites. There have been no reports of human-to-human transmission through casual contact till date. But a small proportion of human infections have reported through organ transplant, blood transfusions and breast milk while one case of transplacental.
People infected with WNV suffer from fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, occasionally with a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands. In case of severe West Nile disease, the patient suffers from headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, stupor, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. One in 150 persons infected with the virus will develop a severe form of the disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the infection.
United States’ prestigious Stanford University has agreed to assist Uttar Pradesh Government to combat chronic disease like Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). It was announced by Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh who had headed high-powered delegation of top state officials to United States. The delegation also met with the officials from US State Department, Department of Commerce and US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Japanese encephalitis (JE)
JE is a mosquito-borne flavivirus. It belongs to the same genus as dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses. The first case of JE was documented in 1871 in Japan. JE primarily affects children. Most adults in endemic countries have natural immunity after childhood infection, but individuals of any age may be affected.
It is transmitted by rice field breeding mosquitoes (primarily Culex tritaeniorhynchus group). The mosquitoes transmit JE by feeding on domestic pigs and wild birds infected with the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). It is not transmitted from person-to-person. Signs and symptoms of JE infections are mild (fever and headache) or without apparent symptoms, but it may result in severe clinical illness.
Severe infection is marked by quick onset, headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, stupor, occasional convulsions (especially in infants) etc. There is no specific treatment therapy and intensive supportive therapy is indicated for treatment.