Puttur: In a tragic incidnet Subraya Gowda, aged 55 years, succumbed to rare virus – Japanese encephalitis, caused by migratory birds and spread by Culex vishnui mosquitoes. Japanese encephalitis (JE), an infection of the brain caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), has claimed its first victim in the district this year. This is also the first ever death due to JE in the district.
Subraya was hospitalised last month December, following serious headache and fever. He was detected with Japanese encephalitis, which is found very rarely in the region. Although he was discharged after treatment, the symptoms resurfaced a few days back and he was admitted again into a hospital in Puttur, where he breathed his last on Monday. The virus had attacked the brain.
The virus is found in migratory birds like cranes, which are found in fields and lakes. There was an open lake in the vicinity of the residence of Gowda, who resided near the railway station in Puttur. The mosquitoes, which bite the cranes, carry the virus with them and transfer it to human beings. Culex vishnui mosquitoes are found outdoors, unlike Anopheles mosquitoes.
According to World Health Organisation website states the infection is caused by JEV, a flavivirus related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses, and is spread by Culex mosquitoes. JEV is the main cause of viral encephalitis in many countries of Asia with an estimated 68,000 clinical cases every year. There is no cure for the disease. The treatment is focused on relieving severe clinical signs and supporting the patient to overcome the infection. WHO has recommended integrating JV vaccine into national immunization schedules in all areas where JE disease is recognized as public health issue.