20 July 2019 Blog Post: Japanese Encephalitis Vaccination

The Centers for Disease Control today made new recommendations for Japanese Encephalitis vaccinations. Japanese Encephalitis virus is a mosquito borne illness. The map below shows that the affected area includes far more than Japan and extends from Asia to parts of the Western Pacific.

About 68,000 cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) are estimated to occur each year. For travelers to Asia, the risk of JE is very low but varies based on season – usually after the monsoons except in tropical climates where there is year round transmission. Risk is likely to be higher for travelers with longer duration of travel (more than a month) or whose plans include extensive outdoor activities in rural areas.

The risk of acquiring Japanese encephalitis is still very low for most travelers — less than 1 case per million trips to Asia.

The vaccine (which is given as two doses) is recommended for the following groups:

1. People who are moving to a country where JE is regularly found
2. Those who will be traveling to JE area for a month or longer
3. Those who frequently travel to regions with JE
4. Lab workers with high exposure risk
 
Additionally, the vaccine series should be considered for people traveling for less than 1 month who are at increased risk based on travel season, location, and activities, as well as those with uncertain travel itineraries. The vaccine is not recommended for low-risk travelers (e.g., those only traveling to cities for a short duration).
 
Why is it called Japanese encephalitis if it is so widespread? Well – the first case of Japanese encephalitis viral disease (JE) was documented in 1871 in Japan.

𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿

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