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Japanese Encephalitis

Published: 6th Jul, 2019

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare have dispatched a central team to review the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) as 21 people have died recently due to its outbreak in Assam.


Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare have dispatched a central team to review the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) as 21 people have died recently due to its outbreak in Assam.


Japanese Encephalitis

  • Japanese encephalitis (JE) is one of the most common encephalitides worldwide. The disease is caused by a mosquito-borne flavivirus and is found across south and east areas of Asia. It is a zoonosis – an animal disease that can spread to humans.
  • JE virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Culex mosquitoes, which lay their eggs in irrigated rice paddies and other pools of stagnant water.
  • Pigs and birds serve as amplifying vertebrate hosts. Humans are believed to be dead-end hosts. The disease outbreak usually occurs during the rainy season.
  • Case-fatality rate in severe clinical cases is estimated to be 20–30%, with young children (< 10 years) having a greater risk of severe disease and death.

Spread in India

  • When the first case was reported in 1955, the disease was restricted to south India. The disease, then spread to the north India in 1978 from where extensive and recurrent outbreaks of JE have been reported ever since.
  • In India, while 24 states are endemic for JE, Uttar Pradesh contributed more than 75% of cases during the recent past. Over the years, the seasonal trend has changed and the epidemic peak of the disease has advanced by one month.


  • Currently, three WHO-prequalified JE vaccines are available, all of which are safe and effective. WHO recommends use of JE vaccines in all countries where JE is recognized as a public health priority.
  • India has also launched its first indigenously produced anti- Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccineJENVAC.
  • All 27 districts of Assam have been covered under JE vaccination campaign (for 1-15 yrs.) followed by Routine Immunization as part of Immunization Programme.

Relation between Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE)

  • Flaviviridae is a family of viruses belonging to Flavivirus Genus. Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus is one of the member of Flaviviridae.
  • Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus causes Japanese Encephalitis Disease and it is also the most common cause of Acute Encephalitis Syndrom in India.

 National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme

  • The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) is a comprehensive programme for prevention and control of vector borne diseases namely Malaria, Filaria, Kala-azar, Japanese Encephalitis (JE), Dengue and Chikungunya which is covered under the overall umbrella of NRHM.
  • Directorate of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) is the central nodal agency for the prevention and control of vector borne diseases.

 National Programme for Prevention and Control of Japanese Encephalitis   (JE)/ Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

 The goal of the programme is to reduce morbidity, mortality, and disability in   children due to JE/AES. The major objectives of the programme are as follows:

  • To strengthen and expand JE vaccination in affected districts;
  • To strengthen surveillance, vector control, case management and timely referral of serious and complicated cases;
  • To increase access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities to the target population in affected rural and urban areas;
  • To estimate disability burden due to JE/AES, and to provide for adequate facilities for physical, medical, neurological and social rehabilitation;
  • To improve nutritional status of children at risk of JE/AES;
  •  To carry out intensified IEC/BCC activities regarding JE/AES.

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