This article only offers general advice and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Always consider a professional health care opinion..
Japanese encephalitis is a rare viral brain infection spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry it from infected animals and spread it among humans in rural areas across Asia.
The mosquito that carries Japanese encephalitis thrives and breeds in the agricultural areas of Southeast Asia, the Far East and the Pacific Islands. Half of the 70, 000 cases that are witnessed each year originate in China, where mosquitoes breed in stagnant water pools and flooded rice fields.
Encephalitis leads to inflammation of the brain due to infection. In mild cases, victims would encounter headaches, loss of consciousness and convulsions. In more severe cases, encephalitis can become severe enough to cause permanent brain damage or even death.
The rural vertebrates play host to the virus – majorly pigs and wading birds. The carrier mosquito bites the host, gets contracted by the virus and passes it on to the human with its next bite. Unlike in the case of other mosquito-borne viruses, humans are the final destination when it comes to the host and the virus does not pass on.
There are Japanese encephalitis vaccine available which one should administer two weeks before they travel to a virus-infected area. Additional measures should be taken for added protection.
As of now there is no cure for Japanese encephalitis, however, supportive treatment for Japanese encephalitis is provided in hospitals and it is imperative for you to relieve yourself from the symptoms.
With only one in every 1 million travelers getting infected with Japanese encephalitis yearly, it isn’t something one should lose sleep over. However, it is necessary for you to take precautions when travelling to high-risk areas.
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