Medical Definition of Japanese encephalitis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Japanese encephalitis: A mosquito-borne flavivirus infection that is the leading cause of viral encephalitis in Asia. Japanese encephalitis virus cannot be transmitted from person-to-person. The Japanese encephalitis virus is related to the viruses of St. Louis encephalitis and Murray Valley encephalitis and to the West Nile virus. Infection leads to overt encephalitis in only 1 of 20 to 1,000 cases, and a vaccine is available. Travelers to Asia from non-endemic countries have a very low risk of infection (less than 1 case per million travelers).

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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