Government Notification on Japanese Encephalitis

With a view to addressing the issue of Japanese Encephalitis in some regions of the country, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued a notification on Japanese Encephalitis.

The Notification has been sent to the Heads of State Health Departments and other Health Functionaries of all the State Governments/UTs concerned.

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a flavivirus related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses, and is spread by mosquitoes.

JEV is the main cause of viral encephalitis in many countries of Asia with an estimated 68 000 clinical cases every year.

Although symptomatic Japanese encephalitis (JE) is rare, the case-fatality rate among those with encephalitis can be as high as 30%. Permanent neurologic or psychiatric sequelae can occur in 30%–50% of those with encephalitis.

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is an important public health concern in the country accounting for substantial morbidity, mortality and disability. Early reporting of JE cases is necessary for effective implementation of preventive measures and case management.

A suspected case is defined as:

A person of any age, at any time of year, with the acute onset of fever, not more than 5-7 days duration and a change in mental status (including symptoms such as confusion, disorientation, coma, or inability to talk) AND/OR new onset of seizures (excluding simple febrile seizures). Other early clinical findings can include an increase in irritability, somnolence or abnormal behaviour greater than that seen with usual febrile illness.

For the purpose of this notification, healthcare providers will include clinical establishment run- or managed by the Government (including local authorities), private or NGO sectors and/or individual practitioners under Clinical Establishment (Registration & Regulation) Act, 2010.

The doctors in Government Health Institutions and the registered medical private practitioners of the private hospitals/clinics are required to immediately inform the office of the District Health Authority of concerned district, if a suspected case of JE is reported at their health institution.

The blood samples of the all JE suspected cases have to be sent to the JE Sentinel surveillance Hospital (SSH), to be tested by ELISA technique. The information of the positive case should be sent to the office of the District Health Authority immediately after the diagnosis.