Comparison of Japanese Encephalitis and Virus Encephalitis

Encephalitis means “Acute Inflammation of the Brain” Viral encephalitis refers to a type of Encephalitis caused by a virus.

Ever since July, 470 people, mostly children, have died of viral encephalitis and its biological cousin, Japanese encephalitis — the first caused by a water-borne enterovirus; the second by mosquito bite.

The story hasn’t changed much in the last three decades: every monsoon sees an outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome, or AES, diseases. Japanese encephalitis and viral encephalitis diseases, broadly classified as AES, are a poor man’s diseases and affect the families of paddy farmers.

  • Viral Encephalitis: Water borne disease
  • Japanese Encephalitis: Mosquito Bite
  • Both of the above make Acute encephalitis syndrome, or AES

 AES, are a poor man’s diseases and affect the families of paddy farmers.
While cases of Japanese encephalitis have dropped drastically because of a successful vaccination drive last year, cases of enterovirus have surged dramatically. The disease is less lethal — but involves a longer recovery time, which means greater pressure on hospital infrastructure and staff.
Reliable figures are hard to come by, since government medical facilities are overstretched, and many patients end up in facilities with no diagnostic facilities. The diseases of peasants, unlike those of jet-age diseases like the H1N1 “bird-flu” outbreak, have however drawn little attention in the national media.


Programmes to improve personal hygiene, proper sanitation facilities, and access to clean drinking water could do a great deal for the fight against AES. In Gorakhpur, farmers often live close to paddy fields where mosquitoes breed, and drink infected water from shallow tube-wells. Pig farms are often located inside communities, creating breeding sites for mosquitoes.


 Japanese encephalitis previously known as  Japanese B encephalitis  to distinguish it from von Economo’s A encephalitis—is a disease caused by the mosquito – borne Japanese encephalitis virus. The Japanese encephalitis virus is avirus from the family Flaviviridae. Domestic pigs and wild birds (herons) are reservoirs of the virus; transmission to humans may cause severe symptoms. One of the most important vectors of this disease is the mosquito Culex tritaeniorhynchus. This disease is most prevalent in Southeast Asia and the Far East.



The causative agent Japanese encephalitis virus is an enveloped virus of the genus flavivirus  and is closely related to the West Nile virus  and St. Louis encephalitis  virus.


Japanese Encephalitis is diagnosed by detection of antibodies in serum and CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) by IgM capture ELISA.

There is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis and treatment is supportive; with assistance given for feeding, breathing or seizure control as required. Raised intracranial pressure may be managed with mannitol. Please note that there is no transmission from person to person and therefore patients do not need to be isolated.


Viral encephalitis refers to a type of Encephalitis caused by a  virus. Please note that Encephalitis may be caused by a variety of afflictions. Types include the following:

Arbovirus encephalitis,  La Crosse encephalitis, California encephalitis virus, Japanese Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, Equine Encephalitis, Murray Valley encephalitis virus, Tick-borne meningoencephalitis, Powassan encephalitis, West Nile virus, Herpes simplex, Varicella zoster virus, Rabies (Rabies is a Viral encephalitis), HIV, H5N1 encephalitis, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis – also causes encephalitis 

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