Man succumbs after infected by Japanese encephalitis

Subraya Gowda, aged 55 years, succumbed to rare virus – Japanese encephalitis, caused by migratory birds and spread by Culex vishnui mosquitoes.

This is the first death caused by the virus in the present year in the district.

Subraya was hospitalised in December, following a 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.

District vector-borne disease control officer Dr Arun said that 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. Therefore, people have to be cautious when they are outdoors as well, the officer said.

Symptoms of fever, headache and vomiting are found in the infected persons and in serious cases, it may also lead to coma. As Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection, there is no specific treatment for the disease. The symptoms are treated with supportive therapy. The detection of the virus is also slower.

In the case of Subraya Gowda, there were complications due to age related factors, Dr Arun said and added that the department has taken measures to control the mosquitoes menace in the region.

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