Chinese jungle encephalitis ... or something like it.
June 11, 2008 7:13 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend's parents have been told that they may develop 森林脑炎 -- a Chinese disease which seems to be similar to Lyme disease. Can you help me find out what this is called in English, so I can find out how serious a condition this is?

My girlfriends parents went hiking in Harbin (northern China), and both found what seemed like multiple bug bites on their bodies after the hike. After visiting a doctor, they were told the bugs had in fact embedded themselves under their skin, and had to be surgically removed. These bugs also carry some bacteria causing 森林脑炎 which loosely translates to "jungle meningitis/encephalitis". Apparently they will receive no further treatment until there is some indication that they will develop the disease, but the incubation period may be as long as 2 weeks.

As any sort of brain infection is pretty serious, we are trying to find out as much about 森林脑炎 as possible, to gauge how serious this can be. However, we have no idea what is the equivalent English medical term, so we can't really get anywhere in out search.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
posted by TheyCallItPeace to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
Best answer: An online translator translates it as 'Forest Encephalitis'.
posted by iconomy at 7:24 PM on June 11, 2008

Best answer: Tick-borne meningoencephalitis
posted by stavrogin at 7:40 PM on June 11, 2008

Best answer: Medline plus yields these possible illnesses given a search for forest encephalitis:
posted by zippy at 7:41 PM on June 11, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks iconomy! It did not occur to me to try out online translators, as they tend to be spotty even with non-technical terms.

I still can't gauge from the Google hits how serious this disease is, though -- all links seem pretty technical.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 7:46 PM on June 11, 2008

Response by poster: Replied too soon (and forgot to hit preview ...)

Thanks iconomy, stavrogin and zippy.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 7:55 PM on June 11, 2008

It's also known as Russian Spring-Summer Encephalitis
posted by prudie at 9:26 PM on June 11, 2008

Technical terms are actually what online translation is best for, since the more technical a word is, the more likely it has one and only one very precise meaning.

It's the common language that's ambiguous and slippery.
posted by rokusan at 9:27 PM on June 11, 2008 [3 favorites]

Best answer: From the US Consolate's website:

However, you should seek medical attention if you have been bitten by a tick in the Russian Far East, as you may need to get an immunoglobulin shot to guard against developing TBE.
posted by PueExMachina at 10:19 PM on June 11, 2008

I can translate article-ese.

Encephalitis in general is serious enough to warrant a hospital visit, and from the CDC page, it has some nasty symptoms, ranging from your standard aches and pains in all patients to a stiff neck and neuropsychiatric symptoms which occur in 30% of patients. Luckily, there is only a 2% chance that they will croak. If they've been sitting around for a while, they need to see a neurologist now.
posted by kldickson at 5:12 AM on June 12, 2008

Best answer: FORGET WHAT I SAID-

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a zoonotic arbovirus infection endemic to Russia and Eastern and Central Europe. Despite being a common and serious life-threatening disease for which a mass vaccination program was implemented in Austria, there is only limited reference to this disease in the English-language literature. TBE is transmitted to humans usually by the bite of a tick (either Ixodes persulcatus or Ixodes ricinus); occasionally, cases occur following consumption of infected unpasteurized milk. Transmission is seasonal and occurs in spring and summer, particularly in rural areas favored by the vector. TBE is a serious cause of acute central nervous system disease, which may result in death or long-term neurological sequelae. Effective vaccines are available in a few countries. The risk for travelers of acquiring TBE is increasing with the recent rise in tourism to areas of endemicity during spring and summer.

posted by kldickson at 5:20 AM on June 12, 2008

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