Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese Encephalitis

A deadly virus which infects travellers across Asia through mosquito bites. It can cause long term mental and physical disabilities, with very limited or no treatment options.

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Key Fact

Around a third of people who have severe Japanese encephalitis suffer from long-term complications.1

    • How do people catch these disease?

      When they’re bitten by infected mosquitoes which carry the virus.1

    • Which countries are affected?

      Asian countries from India to Japan (see map). The risk is greater in rural areas.2

    • What are the symptoms?

      Fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, mental confusion, spasms in the neck and spine and muscle weakness.1

    • How serious is the disease?

      • For almost all people who have the virus, the flu-like symptoms pass quickly. In rare cases, encephalitis develops when the virus spreads to the brain. This may cause fatal damage.1
      • People who survive severe encephalitis can end up with a long-term disability.
    • Can I reduce the chances of catching the disease?

      You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

      • Visit your nearest convenient specialist travel health clinic for a risk assessment before your trip
      • Take steps to avoid mosquito bites when mosquitoes are most active (dawn and dusk)3
      • Use a recommended insect repellent containing either 20% Icaridin (e.g Moskito Guard®) or 50% DEET.1
      • Wear appropriate clothing (e.g long-sleeved clothes and long trousers)4
  1. World Health Organization. Weekly Epidemiological Record. WHO Position Paper on Japanese Encephalitis. February 2015. Available online: http://www.who.int/wer/2015/wer9009.pdf (Last accessed May 2018)
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2018. Chapter 3 Infectious Diseases Related to Travel. Japanese Encephalitis. May 2017. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/japanese-encephalitis (Last accessed May 2018)
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2018. Chapter 2 The Pre-Travel Consultation. Counseling & Advice for Travelers. Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Arthropods. May 2017. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods (Last accessed May 2018)
  4. Gesundheit.GV.AT. Japanische Enzephalitis available online: https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/leben/gesundheitsvorsorge/reisemedizin/infektionskrankheiten/japanische-enzephalitis (Last accessed May 2018)

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