The rainy season can increase the risk of spreading diseases caused by mosquito bites, among which malaria, chikungunya, dengue and Zika virus are prominent. Chances of getting Japanese encephalitis are also high during this season. Japanese Encephalitis is colloquially known as Japanese fever. Japanese fever is believed to be a disease spread through viral infection. It can occur in any season but it mostly occurs during the rainy season or in the summer season because mosquitoes are found abundantly during this time.
The disease is spread through the bite of mosquitoes infected with the flavivirus. It is an infection fever, in which the patient has a high fever. Apart from this, headaches, seizures occur and, in some cases, patients also die. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Japanese fever is more common in rural areas. Mostly where rice is cultivated more. It is believed that flaviviruses thrive in rice fields.
Stages of Japanese Encephalitis (Japanese Fever)
There are generally three stages of Japanese fever which are as follows-
This is the early stage of Japanese fever in which fever starts before the brain and spinal cord are affected. Also, it lasts for two to three days. During this time most people feel chills along with restlessness and headache. This phase lasts for about a week.
Acute encephalitis stage-
In this stage, fever affects the brain and spinal cord of the person. Also, it lasts for at least 3 to 4 days. In this stage, the fever already present increases. Along with this, patients start having symptoms like decreased ability to think and concentrate, loss of facial expression, stiffness in the neck, muscle spasms, dehydration, weight loss and unusual movements. In many cases, the patient may slip into a coma at this stage. Apart from this, in this phase, sometimes there are sudden changes in the behaviour of the patient such as confusion, unconscious speaking, anxiety, disorientation etc.
In this phase, the active inflammation begins to subside and the temperature, ESR normal and neurological symptoms begin to stabilize. Also, there are improvements in it. This phase usually lasts for 1 to 2 months. The patient starts recovering in this stage.
Symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis (Japanese Fever)
In general, the initial symptoms of Japanese fever are similar to those of normal fever but apart from this other symptom are also seen. Let's know about these other symptoms-
- High fever.
- Sharp shivering (cold) feeling.
- Having a headache.
- Muscle weakness or paralysis.
- Neck stiffness.
- Confusion or seizures.
- Feeling unable to speak.
- Lack of consciousness.
- Uncontrollable tremors in body parts.
- Having physical weakness.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Loss of appetite.
- Feeling tired.
- Bad taste in the mouth.
- The following symptoms are seen in children.
- Change in behavior of children.
- Bulging of the fontanels in young children and new-borns.
- Not waking up to have a meal at the proper time.
- To be irritable.
- Stiffness in the body.
- Vomiting or nausea.
Causes of Japanese encephalitis (Japanese fever)
Japanese encephalitis is caused by the flavi virus which infects animals and humans. It is a carrier-borne disease. A carrier is an organism that does not itself cause disease but other flaviviruses are transmitted from infected animals (pigs and birds) to uninfected individuals. It affects the membranes surrounding the brain.
Prevention of Japanese Encephalitis (Japanese fever)
- Avoid mosquito bites.
- Get the vaccine for Japanese encephalitis.
- Use anti-mosquito cream or mustard oil on the body.
- Use mosquito net while sleeping.
- Wear clothes that completely cover the body.
- Fumigation of houses with neem leaves daily during the rainy season or summer season.
- Do not leave containers full of water open.
- Keep washroom and kitchen dry.
- Install nets on doors and windows.
- Change the water of the pot and cooler daily.
- Maintain cleanliness around the house.
- Get the mosquito repellent sprayed at the appropriate time.