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Molecular evidence for the occurrence of Japanese encephalitis virus genotype I and III infection associated with acute Encephalitis in Patients of West Bengal, India, 2010

Arindam Sarkar1, Debjani Taraphdar1, Subhra Kanti Mukhopadhyay2, Sekhar Chakrabarti1 and Shyamalendu Chatterjee1*

Author Affiliations

1 ICMR virus unit, ID & BG Hospital, 57, Dr. S. C. Banerjee Road, Beliaghata, Kolkata-700010, West Bengal, India

2 Department of Microbiology, The University of Burdwan Golapbag, Burdwan, West Bengal, India

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:271  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-271

Published: 15 November 2012



Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a mosquito-borne zoonotic pathogen, is the sole etiologic agent of Japanese Encephalitis (JE); a neurotropic killer disease which is one of the major causes of viral encephalitis worldwide with prime public health concern. JE was first reported in the state of West Bengal, India in 1973. Since then it is being reported every year from different districts of the state, though the vaccination has already been done. Therefore, it indicates that there might be either partial coverage of the vaccine or the emergence of mutated/new strain of JEV. Considering this fact, to understand the JEV genotype distribution, we conducted a molecular epidemiological study on a total of 135 serum/cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples referred and/or collected from the clinically suspected patients with Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), admitted in different district hospitals of West Bengal, India, 2010.


JEV etiology was confirmed in 36/135 (26.6%) and 13/61 (21.3%) 2–15 days’ febrile illness samples from AES cases by analyzing Mac-ELISA followed by RT-PCR test respectively. Phylogenetic analysis based on complete envelope gene sequences of 13 isolates showed the emergence of JEV genotype I (GI), co-circulating with genotype III (GIII).


This study represents the first report of JEV GI with GIII, co-circulating in West Bengal. The efficacy of the vaccine (derived from JEV GIII strain SA-14-14-2) to protect against emerging JEV GI needs careful evaluation. In future, JE outbreak is quite likely in the state, if this vaccine fails to protect sufficiently against GI of JEV.

Acute encephalitis syndrome; Japanese encephalitis virus; Genotype I; Genotype III; West Bengal