Isolation of Japanese Encephalitis Virus from Clinical Specimens Using a Continuous Mosquito Cell Line

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  • Department of Virology, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangkok, Thailand
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During the 1983 Japanese encephalitis (JE) epidemic in northern Thailand, we systematically attempted to isolate JE virus (JEV) from clinical specimens collected from 49 consecutive JE patients at 1 provincial hospital. Fresh acute plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples and postmortem brain samples were immediately inoculated onto cultured monolayers of Aedes pseudoscutellaris (LSTM-AP-61) cells which had been shipped to the epidemic site. None of 49 plasma samples yielded virus. None of 30 fresh CSF samples from nonfatal cases yielded virus, but 5 of 15 (33%) CSF samples from fatal cases did. Inoculation of fresh brain specimens obtained at autopsy yielded virus in every case attempted (7 of 7), whereas postmortem needle biopsy specimens of brain yielded virus in only 1 of 4 cases. Isolates were most frequently successful using thalamic tissue (6 of 7 cases), but isolates were also commonly obtained from frontal cortex (4/7), occipital cortex (4/7), cerebellum (4/7), medulla (4/7) and pons (2/7).