Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) is a dangerous, and potentially deadly disease, a virus spread by infected mosquitos – also the most common cause of encephalitis* in Asia. This virus is closely related to the West Nile and Saint Louis encephalitis viruses.
Japanese Encephalitis occurs primarily in much of Asia and parts of the western Pacific. Highest transmission of this virus occurs in rural agricultural areas, often associated with rice cultivation and flooding irrigation. In some parts of Asia, this type of ecological condition may exist near or sometimes even within urban areas.
The greatest risk is usually seasonal, the number of cases peaks in the summer and fall, but it can occur year round. In tropical or sub-tropical regions, the largest outbreaks are often seen during the rainy season. For individuals living within the risk areas, this disease is primarily seen as a disease in children. However, for individuals who are traveling to these areas, people of any age are at risk.
The mosquito that transmits this disease is usually an evening or night-time biting mosquito, so preventative measures against mosquito bites are most important during these hours.
*What is encephalitis? An inflammation of the brain; symptoms often include personality changes, seizures, weakness in various parts of the body – dependent on the area of the brain where inflammation occurs.