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Bihar launches vaccine against Japanese encephalitis

Bihar on Tuesday launched a special vaccination drive to cover 1.8 million children against Japanese encephalitis, a minister here said. 'It is to provide immunity against the deadly Japanese encephalitis to children in the age group of 1-15 years in the state,' Health Minister Ashwani Choubey said. He added that the vaccines would be administered at all government and private schools, and primary health centres across the state.

Last year, the acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) killed nearly 240 children in Bihar's Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts. AES is a severe case of encephalitis characterised by inflammation of the brain.

What is Japanese encephalitis?

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Japanese Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral form of encephalitis. Only about 0.4% cases of Japanese Encephalitis result in acute encephalitis. Encephalitis results in inflammation of the brain. The patient's central nervous system is affected. This results in fever and/or a sudden onset of mental issues like seizures, confusion, disorientation, etc. Mortality is usually high among children.

What is acute encephalitis syndrome?

Acute encephalitis syndrome is a severe case of encephalitis characterised by inflammation of the brain. The effect on the patient's central nervous system results in fever and/or sudden onset of mental symptoms like seizures, confusion, disorientation, etc. It can be caused due to bacterial or viral infections of the brain, toxic substances or increased complications of an infectious disease.

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