Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease. It is the leading cause of viral encephalitis in Asia, with up to 50,000 cases reported each year. The death rate among persons with symptoms of Japanese encephalitis is 30%, with another 30% having serious neurological complications. However, the risk for most travelers is very low, with fewer than 1 case per million travelers. However, rates increase for those staying for prolonged periods in areas where Japanese encephalitis is common.
Japanese encephalitis is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. When an infected mosquito bites a human, the virus is transferred. In addition, wading birds and pigs can be infected and also transfer the virus back to mosquitoes when bitten by a mosquito. Japanese encephalitis transmission occurs mainly in agricultural and rural areas, especially during summer and fall when conditions result in large amounts of standing water.
Most human infections with Japanese encephalitis do not have symptoms. However, a small percentage of those infected develop a sudden fever, headache, and vomiting about 5 to 15 days after infection. These symptoms are followed by mental status changes, neurological changes, weakness, and movement disorders. Seizures are also common, especially among children. There is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis. Therapy mainly consists of supportive care and management of complications. The primary public health approaches to JE prevention is through vaccination and the use of other protective measures in at-risk populations.
Currently, there is only one FDA-approved Japanese encephalitis vaccine. It is recommended for use in persons 2 months of age and older.
Product: Ixiaro® (Inactivated Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine)
Manufacturer: Intercell Biomedical
Year licensed: 2009
* To administer a 0.25 mL dose, expel and discard half of the volume from the 0.5 mL pre-filled syringe by pushing the plunger stopper up to the edge of the red line on the syringe barrel prior to injection.
To administer a 0.25 mL dose, expel and discard half of the
volume from the 0.5 mL pre-filled syringe by pushing the plunger stopper
up to the edge of the red line on the syringe barrel prior to
It is a severe infection of the brain and spinal cord caused by the bite of a Culex mosquito carrying the JE virus. The disease is most common in rural, agricultural areas of Asia and parts of the western Pacific where mosquito larvae inhabit flooded rice fields and marshes. These mosquitoes feed outdoors from dusk until dawn. Disease transmission occurs when mosquitos are active, usually during summer and fall.
JE is only transmitted by mosquitos – never from person-to-person. It is the most common vaccine-preventable cause of encephalitis in Asia with 30,000 to 50,000 cases reported annually.