In 1924, a previously well 20 year old woman presented to hospital with a headache and general fatigue. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and she died in 6 days. Over 6000 cases occurred within 1924. The search was on to find the cause. Fortunately, in 1935, a breakthrough occurred.
We know the virus today as the Japanese Encephalitis Virus. The vast majority of people who become infected with JEV are either oblivious (asymptomatic) or only have mild non-specific viral symptoms (ie. fever). However, those who are very unwell and require hospitalisation have significant risks of morbidity and mortality.
In 2022, cases of JEV have been identified in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. This is the first time cases have been recorded this far south. We know that JEV is endemic in at least 24 countries around Asia. Is Australia going to become the 25th?
This is the story of Japanese Encephalitis Virus.