Hospital-based surveillance for Japanese encephalitis in Bangladesh, 2007–2016: Implications for introduction of immunization

Kishor Kumar Paul, Hossain M.S. Sazzad, Mahmudur Rahman, Sharmin Sultana, M. Jahangir Hossain, Jeremy P. Ledermann, Paul Burns, Michael S. Friedman, Meerjady S. Flora, Marc Fischer, Susan Hills, Stephen P. Luby, Emily S. Gurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus is recognized as a major cause of encephalitis in Bangladesh. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends human immunization as the most effective means to control JE. Several WHO-prequalified vaccines are available to prevent JE but no vaccination program has been implemented in Bangladesh. Methods: We conducted hospital-based surveillance for acute meningitis-encephalitis syndrome (AMES) to describe JE epidemiology and help inform policy decisions about possible immunization strategies for Bangladesh. Results: During 2007–2016, a total of 6543 AMES patients were identified at four tertiary hospitals. Of the 6525 patients tested, 548 (8%) were classified as JE cases. These 548 patients resided in 36 (56%) out of 64 districts of Bangladesh, with the highest proportion of JE cases among AMES patients (12% and 7%) presenting at two hospitals in the northwestern part of the country. The median age of JE cases was 30 years, and 193 (35%) were aged ≤15 years. The majority of JE cases (80%) were identified from July through November. Conclusions: Surveillance results suggest that JE continues to be an important cause of meningo-encephalitis in Bangladesh. Immunization strategies including JE vaccine introduction into the routine childhood immunization program or mass vaccination in certain age groups or geographic areas need to be examined, taking into consideration the cost-effectiveness ratio of the approach and potential for decreasing disease burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Causes of encephalitis
  • Hospital-based surveillance
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccine-preventable disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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