The Telegraph
Monday , August 25 , 2014
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Your questions on Japanese Encephalitis

Is Calcutta vulnerable to Japanese encephalitis?

Many places in South and North 24-Parganas bordering Calcutta have paddy fields and pigs. Areas within 4-5km of these are vulnerable

What are the symptoms?

Rapid onset of high fever, headache, stiffness of neck, disorientation, seizures

How is the virus transmitted?

Each fresh outbreak involves a complex chain: wild water birds (hosts) to mosquitoes (vectors) to pigs (amplifying hosts, where the virus reproduces heavily) to mosquitoes to humans (who don’t infect other humans). The mosquitoes can fly 4-5km

How’s the disease diagnosed?

From blood (serum) samples orcerebrospinal fluid

How are the patients treated?

There is no antiviral treatment. Doctors try to relieve symptoms and stabilise the patient

How can one prevent the disease?

►By controlling the mosquito population, isolating pigs, and avoiding mosquito bites through the use of repellents, nets, long-sleeved clothes, coils and vaporisers

►By getting vaccinated (both children and adults). Two types of vaccines are available in India, costing about Rs 70 per dose

Is one dose of the vaccine enough?

Two doses should be administered a month apart. It takes two more months to gain immunity. Since the disease strikes in summer, the safest bet is to take the dosesin late winter and early spring. The initial immunity lasts two years. A booster dose after two years gives lifelong immunity.