Clinical Conversations: Japanese Encephalitis – A Practical Approach for GPs | Part one

Clinical Conversations: Japanese Encephalitis – A Practical Approach for GPs | Part one


It is likely that Japanese encephalitis will become endemic, and GPs will once again be at the forefront in diagnosis, future immunisation programmes and patient education. This disease is likely worsened due to climate change, migratory birds and feral pigs. Learn more about Japanese encephalitis in this podcast from Associate Professor Bernie Hudson.

This is part one of a three part series. Read part 2

Practice points

• Japanese encephalitis is caused by a flavivirus, and the other flaviviruses that people will know extremely well are Dengue, Zika virus, yellow fever, West Nile virus and most are spread by mosquitoes.
• The hosts are primarily pigs and so the Culex or Aedes mosquitoes get infected and spread it to spread it to humans, horses and donkeys, all of which are dead-end hosts.
• The big problem really is that we can only define detection when a case of meningitis or encephalitis occurs and all the usual diagnostic tests are negative. Patients need to be referred as the diagnostic test is a lumbar puncture.
• The chance of getting sick once you get infected is extremely low, but if you do get symptoms, then there might be an acute febrile illness. If you get any neurological symptoms, unfortunately, the outcomes usually bad.
• More likely than not the disease is going to become endemic. However, there might be very few cases, and then there may be spikes every now and then.

Prof. Hudson is an infectious diseases specialist and a clinical microbiologist. He is the Head of Microbiology at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney. He is also an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at James Cook University, Townsville and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney.

Dr David Lim. (DL)
A short while ago, very few ...

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