Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine for Travel

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Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine

What is Japanese Encephalitis?

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a flavirus mosquito-borne virus which affects the brain. Approximately 70,000 clinical cases occur in 24 countries (WHO, 2015). They are prevalent around rural farming areas in Asia.

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Vaccination Pricing

£110 Per dose

£220 Per Course

Signs & Symptoms

Most human infections with JE virus do not result in symptoms.

When symptoms do occur they include:

  • Mostly asymptomatic
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Death rate is high in symptomatic cases admitted to hospital

The Vaccination

Ages (Years) Doses Required Schedule Time before travel Boost required at
3 – 85 2 0, 28 days Last dose up to day before* 1-2 years
18 – 65 2 0, 7 days** Last dose up to day before* 1-2 years

*This vaccination is at its most effective when given time to develop adequate immunity. Some immunity will be present if you get the vaccine up to the day before your trip.

** accelerated schedule

How do you catch Japanese Encephalitis?

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, particularly the Culex species. Here's how you can catch Japanese encephalitis:

  1. Mosquito bites: The primary mode of transmission is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected with the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) when they feed on infected animals, typically pigs or water birds, which act as reservoirs for the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then transmit the virus to humans when they bite.
  2. Rural and agricultural environments: Japanese encephalitis is more prevalent in rural and agricultural areas where there is a higher population of mosquitoes and closer proximity to animals that carry the virus. Rice fields and pig farming areas, in particular, can provide suitable breeding grounds for mosquitoes and increase the risk of transmission.
  3. Seasonal and geographical factors: The risk of Japanese encephalitis transmission varies with seasonal and geographical factors. In endemic regions, the transmission is typically highest during the rainy season when mosquito populations are abundant. Geographically, Japanese encephalitis is primarily found in parts of Asia, including rural areas of China, India, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific region.

It's important to note that not all individuals infected with the Japanese encephalitis virus will develop symptoms. In fact, the majority of infections are asymptomatic or result in mild flu-like symptoms. However, in rare cases, the virus can cause severe neurological complications, including encephalitis.

Preventive measures such as mosquito bite prevention strategies (using insect repellents, wearing protective clothing, using bed nets), vaccination (available in some countries), and avoiding mosquito-infested areas during peak transmission periods can help reduce the risk of contracting Japanese encephalitis. If traveling to endemic regions, it is advisable to consult with healthcare professionals or travel medicine specialists for personalized advice and vaccination recommendations.

Who is at risk from Japanese Encephalitis?

The risk of Japanese encephalitis (JE) varies depending on various factors, including geographic location and individual circumstances. Here are some groups that are generally considered to be at a higher risk:

  1. Geographic risk: Individuals residing in or traveling to areas where Japanese encephalitis is endemic or has reported outbreaks are at an increased risk. Endemic regions include rural areas of Asia, such as parts of China, India, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific.
  2. Age: Japanese encephalitis primarily affects children and young adults. Children under the age of 15 are more susceptible to infection and severe complications. However, individuals of all ages can contract the virus.
  3. Outdoor and agricultural workers: People who spend significant time outdoors, especially in rural or agricultural settings, have an increased risk of exposure to infected mosquitoes. Agricultural workers, farmers, and individuals involved in activities such as rice farming or pig rearing are at a higher risk due to their proximity to mosquito habitats and potential contact with animals that serve as reservoirs for the virus.
  4. Travelers: Travelers visiting endemic regions, particularly during the peak transmission season, may be at risk if they are exposed to infected mosquitoes. Short-term travelers or tourists are generally at a lower risk compared to long-term residents or individuals engaging in outdoor activities in rural areas.
  5. Unvaccinated individuals: Individuals who have not received the Japanese encephalitis vaccine or have incomplete vaccination are at a higher risk if they are exposed to the virus. Vaccination is recommended for individuals residing in or traveling to endemic areas, especially for prolonged periods or during peak transmission seasons.

It's important to note that the majority of individuals infected with Japanese encephalitis virus do not develop symptoms or experience only mild illness. However, severe cases can lead to neurological complications and even death.

Consulting with healthcare professionals or travel medicine specialists is advisable for personalized risk assessment and guidance, especially for individuals planning to travel to endemic regions or those residing in high-risk areas.

Symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis (JE) symptoms can range from mild to severe. Most people infected with the virus do not develop any symptoms, and approximately 1 in 250 infections leads to severe illness. Here are the common symptoms associated with Japanese encephalitis:

  1. Mild symptoms (in many cases):
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Fatigue or malaise
    • Muscle aches
    • Mild gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting)
  1. Severe symptoms (in rare cases):
    • High fever
    • Stiff neck
    • Severe headache
    • Disorientation or confusion
    • Tremors or muscle rigidity
    • Seizures
    • Paralysis or weakness, often affecting one side of the body
    • Behavioral changes
    • Coma

It's important to note that severe cases of Japanese encephalitis can lead to inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and may result in long-term neurological complications or even death.

The incubation period for Japanese encephalitis is typically 5 to 15 days, with symptoms appearing after the virus enters the bloodstream and spreads to the brain. It's worth noting that not all individuals infected with the Japanese encephalitis virus will exhibit symptoms, and those who do may initially experience mild flu-like symptoms that can progress to more severe manifestations.

If you or someone you know develops symptoms suggestive of Japanese encephalitis, especially in endemic regions, seek immediate medical attention as early diagnosis and supportive care are crucial for better outcomes.

Japanese Encephalitis Risk Areas

Japanese Encephalitis Risk Areas

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