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Journal of Neuroinfectious Diseases
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Unveiling the Undiscovered: Etiology of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in North India

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Abstract

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) poses a great public health problem in India, occurring both in epidemics and sporadically. The magnitude of the problem has been estimated to be around 50,000 cases and 10,000 deaths annually. Traditionally Japanese encephalitis (JE) has been considered to be the most important cause of AES in our country. The overemphasis on JE is so much so that AES surveillance is paralleled to JE surveillance for all practical purposes. In 2014, the total numbers of AES cases and deaths reported from India were 10,853 and 1717 respectively and the corresponding values for JE were 1657 (~15%) and 293 (~17%) respectively. This implies that other undiscovered or neglected etiology of AES, which accounts for about 85%, also exists and should also be looked for.

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