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Japanese Encephalitis and Other in India

18 Aug 2015

The media has reported on an outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) and Japanese encephalitis (JE) in the state of  Assam in northern India.

The two infections have resulted in at least 288 deaths thus far in 2015; the majority (193) have been related to AES, with 95 related to JE. A total of 571 cases of AES and 468 cases of JE have been reported statewide this year (2015).

In 2014, 1286 cases of AES and 488 case of JE were recorded in Assam.

The worst JE affected districts include: Dhemaji, Golaghat and Sivasagar (41) each, followed by Dibrugarh (38), Tinsukia (37) and Jorhat (28).

A task force has been set up to implement containment strategies including JE vaccination for adults and children.

Advice for Travellers

Japanese encephalitis vaccine is sometimes recommended for travellers to risk areas of India, particularly during the high risk season. Bite avoidance measures are also recommended.

Travellers should also maintain a high standard of food, water and personal hygiene as acute encephalitis syndrome may be caused by enteroviruses.