Epidemiology and burden of disease from Japanese encephalitis in Cambodia: results from two years of sentinel surveillance

Trop Med Int Health. 2009 Nov;14(11):1365-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02380.x. Epub 2009 Sep 11.


Objectives: To describe the results from two years of Japanese encephalitis (JE) sentinel surveillance in Cambodia.

Methods: Sentinel site surveillance for JE in children aged 15 years and under was implemented in Cambodia in mid-2006. It was integrated into the routine meningoencephalitis surveillance system. Six hospitals were selected as sentinel sites. Epidemiological information and diagnostic specimens were collected from each patient presenting with meningoencephalitis. Cerebrospinal fluid and sera were tested for presence of immunoglobulin M antibodies against JE and dengue viruses by an ELISA. Surveillance data from 2006 to 2008 were analysed.

Results: Of 586 patients presenting with meningoencephalitis, 110 (19%) were confirmed to have JE. The percentage of confirmed JE cases at individual sentinel sites ranged from 13% to 35% of all meningoencephalitis cases. Mean age was 6.2 years, with 95% of JE cases in children aged 12 years and under. Cases occurred year-round in both 12-month reporting periods.

Conclusions: JE is an important cause of meningoencephalitis in Cambodian children. As JE is a vaccine-preventable disease, an immunization programme could result in a considerable reduction in morbidity and mortality from JE among children in Cambodia.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cambodia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Encephalitis, Japanese / diagnosis
  • Encephalitis, Japanese / epidemiology*
  • Encephalitis, Japanese / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Incidence
  • Japanese Encephalitis Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Meningoencephalitis / epidemiology*
  • Meningoencephalitis / prevention & control
  • Meningoencephalitis / virology
  • Seasons
  • Sentinel Surveillance*


  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Japanese Encephalitis Vaccines