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Infectious encephalitis is a world-wide public health issue, and a particular problem in resource limited settings of Southeast Asia due to the high diversity of endemic and emerging infectious diseases. Encephalitis is caused by a wide-spectrum of pathogens and non-pathogenic diseases, and for this reason, establishing laboratory diagnostics is challenging.

A previous meningo-encephalitis study conducted by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) identified Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), Dengue virus, scrub typhus, Chikungunya virus and Enterovirus A71 as key encephalitis causing pathogens; although majority of patients lacked a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis. IPC is currently conducting investigations with partners in Cambodia (like Kantha Bopha Hospitals) and the region (Vietnam, Lao PDR and Myanmar) to screen encephalitis patients for approximately 70 pathogens suspected to cause encephalitis. Furthermore, pathogen discovery techniques using next generation sequencing are designed to detect unknown or unsuspected pathogens

In Cambodia, JEV is the most frequent cause of encephalitis in children. . This situation could change in the near future thanks to the national JEV immunization campaign implemented by the Ministry of Health.