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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-17

Japanese encephalitis: Strategies for prevention and control in India


Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ruchir Rustagi
Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/INJMS.INJMS_22_18

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Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is an important re-emerging vector-borne zoonotic disease of the 21st century which is the most important cause of morbidity and mortality due to pediatric viral encephalitis in Asian populations. India and China together report 95% of the disease burden where it is also an important cause of acute encephalitis syndrome. JE is a neglected tropical disease which disproportionately afflicts poor and economically disadvantaged populations in rural regions of low and middle-income countries which often lack well-equipped tertiary care centers for the management of JE cases presenting with central nervous system manifestations and related complications. JE has large animal reservoirs among pigs and water birds which renders JE elimination difficult. Hence, current strategy for JE prevention and control pursues a combined approach inclusive of expansion of JE vaccination coverage in endemic regions, vector control, and surveillance. Unfortunately, the lack of public health infrastructure, economic resources, and lack of political commitment has resulted in most endemic countries in the developing world failing to take adequate steps for achieving these recommended measures for JE control, especially with regard to developing surveillance capacities and reference laboratories for the diagnosis of JE. Moreover, the threat of JE has increased in recent years due to factors such as climate change and lack of economic development in several endemic zones even as the disease has begun affecting adult populations. Evidence from surveillance data in some countries also suggests that increase in vaccination coverage for JE does not necessarily correlate with decline in JE disease burden. Ultimately, JE is likely to persist as a major public health problem in the developing world and impede their economic development unless it receives adequate attention from the global health community.


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