Although Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infection is an important cause of acute febrile illness in Lao PDR (Laos), patient outcome has not been evaluated. We prospectively followed up 123 JEV-infected patients (70 children ≤ 15 years and 53 adults ≥ 15 years) admitted at Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, from 2003 to 2013. Japanese encephalitis virus infection was diagnosed by the detection of anti-JEV IgM in cerebrospinal fluid and/or IgM seroconversion. Neurological sequelae were assessed using the Liverpool Outcome Score (LOS), total (maximum score = 75), and final (maximum score = 5). The median (interquartile range [IQR]) age of the patients was 12.0 (7.5-18.8) years, and 57% were male. The median (IQR) duration of patients' follow-up was 4.5 (3.2-7.3) years. Of all patients, 10/123 (8.1%) died during hospitalization, and 13/123 (10.6%) died at home after discharge, giving a mortality of 18.7% (23/123) (33 [26.8%] patients were lost to follow-up). The frequency of neurological sequelae at the last follow-up was 61.2% (48.4% in adults and 69.4% in children, <i>P</i> = 0.135). The proportion of patients with severe and moderate functional impairment at the last follow-up was significantly higher in children (25%) than adults (6.5%), <i>P</i> = 0.042. Half of the patients who were still alive at the last follow-up (67) and for whom LOS data were available (22) had improvements in their total and final LOS between discharge and the last follow-up. The total and final LOS at discharge were not significantly different between children and adults, but total LOS at the last follow-up was significantly higher in adults than children (median [IQR]: 74.5 [73-75] versus 73.0 [73-75], <i>P</i> = 0.019).
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
Nuffield Department of Medicine, Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.