Recent Population Dynamics of Japanese Encephalitis Virus


Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) causes acute viral encephalitis in humans and reproductive disorders in pigs. JEV emerged during the 1870s in Japan, and since that time, JEV has been transmitted exclusively throughout Asia, according to known reporting and sequencing records. A recent JEV outbreak occurred in Australia, affecting commercial piggeries across different temperate southern Australian states, and causing confirmed infections in humans. A total of 47 human cases and 7 deaths were reported. The recent evolving situation of JEV needs to be reported due to its continuous circulation in endemic regions and spread to non-endemics areas. Here, we reconstructed the phylogeny and population dynamics of JEV using recent JEV isolates for the future perception of disease spread. Phylogenetic analysis shows the most recent common ancestor occurred about 2993 years ago (YA) (95% Highest posterior density (HPD), 2433 to 3569). Our results of the Bayesian skyline plot (BSP) demonstrates that JEV demography lacks fluctuations for the last two decades, but it shows that JEV genetic diversity has increased during the last ten years. This indicates the potential JEV replication in the reservoir host, which is helping it to maintain its genetic diversity and to continue its dispersal into non-endemic areas. The continuous spread in Asia and recent detection from Australia further support these findings. Therefore, an enhanced surveillance system is needed along with precautionary measures such as regular vaccination and mosquito control to avoid future JEV outbreaks.

Xu, J.; Wahaab, A.; Khan, S.; Nawaz, M.; Anwar, M.N.; Liu, K.; Wei, J.; Hameed, M.; Ma, Z. Recent Population Dynamics of Japanese Encephalitis Virus. Viruses 2023, 15, 1312.