Medical Fun Facts Podcast

MFF0085: Japanese encephalitis

Hello, and welcome to Medical Fun Facts.

It’s Monday 25 September 2017

If things are going according to plan as this show drops I’m in Bendigo at the National Club Championships for Gymnastics Australia. My youngest daughter is competing for Delta Brisbane.

Thanks for listening and thanks for watching Medical Fun Facts, a short sharp show with a few facts and hopefully one or two funny lines.

Don’t expect too much from this and we’ll all be happy.

Last week I spoke about impetigo or school sores.

This week I want to speak about Japanese Encephalitis.

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The Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus is a big cause of vaccine-preventable encephalitis in the western Pacific and parts of Asia. The risk for the majority of travellers is pretty low, but that risk varies depending on the destination, the duration of travel, the season, and activities undertaken.

JEV is maintained in a cycle involving mosquitoes and hosts like pigs and water birds. People get infected when an infected mosquito bites them. Most infections are asymptomatic or subclinical. That said, a very small number of infected persons develop encephalitis or inflammation of the brain.

The major symptoms include the sudden onset of headache, high fever, disorientation, coma, tremors and seizures.

In this group of patients with symptoms, about a quarter will die. There is no specific treatment for JE.

Patient management involves supportive care and management of complications.

Personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites and vaccination are the only ways to prevent JEV infection.

Avoiding mosquito bites

Who should be immunised?

The Japanese Encephalitis Virus

JEV is a flavivirus and similar to West Nile Virus and St Louis Encephalitis Virus. Other flaviviruses include Zika virus, Dengue virus, and Yellow Fever virus.
JEV is a single stranded RNA virus which has five genotypes.

Questions for listeners

So, I have some questions for listeners.

Please leave your answers in the comments section of the show notes or on the Facebook page or on YouTube.

That’s episode 85 in the can.
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