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Indian J Pediatr. 2008 Jan;75(1):31-7.

Bellary, India achieves negligible case fatality due to Japanese encephalitis despite no vaccination: an outbreak investigation in 2004.

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Division of Reproductive Health & Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India.



To confirm the existence of the outbreak of suspected Japanese encephalitis, identify the source, to understand the circumstances due to which the outbreak was taking place and to suggest measures for its control.


The team visited Bellary from 4th to 10th Sept, 2004. The team interviewed the key persons and analyzed the records at District Surveillance Unit and Entomological Surveillance Unit and case records of suspected JE cases admitted in Encephalitis ward in Vijay Nagar Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS). Eco-entomological survey was done in houses and surroundings of 3 randomly selected cases of Encephalitis in rural and urban areas of District Bellary. Their family members and neighbors were also asked for the awareness and presence of disease. Data was analyzed for epidemiological and clinical profiles.


The suspected JE cases were being reported from end of June 2004. The cases were sporadic and out of 34 cases reported to VIMS (till 10th of September), 32 were from Bellary district and 2 were from adjoining Andhra Pradesh. Among these 32, 22 were from Bellary Taluk, which in turn were mainly concentrated (10 were reported) in urban Bellary. The case fatality rate was zero as no death was reported. Entomological surveillance (done by District Surveillance Unit) revealed a high outdoor presence of Culex tritaeniorhynchus as well as an indoor rising density of this mosquito from 2 per man hour catch in January to 22 in the month of August in the affected villages. On the contrary, the investigations on 7th and 8th September revealed high densities of An.subpictus and An. peditaenatus and nil of Culex species in the urban areas. Amplifier host of pigs and water birds were occasionally sighted in the area.


A good community awareness of encephalitis, a prompt referral system and a good supportive treatment for the patients and a good surveillance system and response were observed. Very close proximity with amplifying hosts of pigs was avoided by the community, though piggeries were still not very far away (1-3 Km). These may explain the reduction in cases, deaths and disabilities due to this disease in this district over the years. Possibilities of mutant strain which is less virulent and/or a better immune status of at risk population may also need to be explored. The impact of the mass vaccination with SA 14-14-2, imported from China in Bellary during July, 2006 remains to be evaluated. This will further decrease the case load.

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