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 Facts around Japanese Encephalitis

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

    • How do people catch this 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?

      • Most cases of Japanese encephalitis are asymptomatic. In rare cases, however, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) occurs, and about half of the severe cases have a fatal course.1 Approximately 30% of those who survives the infection suffer permanent neurological, physical or psychological damage.1
    • Can I reduce the chances of catching the disease?

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

      • Visit a travel health clinic to assess the risks of the planned trip and get advice about available vaccinations and further precautions.
        Click here to find your nearest travel health clinic and make an appointment: https://www.reisemedizincheck.at/en/find-a-travel-health-service
      • 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®, for more information please see https://www.valneva.at/en/moskito-guard) or 50% DEET.1.1
      • 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 September 2020)
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2020. Chapter 4 Travel-Related Infectious Diseases. Japanese Encephalitis. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2020/travel-related-infectious-diseases/japanese-encephalitis (last accessed September 2020); WHO. Disease Outbreak. JE Australia. Online available: https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2022-DON365 (Last accessed June 2022) 
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2020. Chapter 3 Environmental Hazards & Other Noninfectious Health Risks. Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Arthropods. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2020/noninfectious-health-risks/mosquitoes-ticks-and-other-arthropods (last accessed September 2020)
  4. Gesundheit.GV.AT. Japanische Enzephalitis Available online: https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/leben/gesundheitsvorsorge/reisemedizin/infektionskrankheiten/japanische-enzephalitis (last accessed September 2020)

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