Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV).1,2 

Travellers visiting regions where exposure to Japanese encephalitis is likely should take care to avoid mosquito bites1 – such as by using repellents, coils and sprays, and mosquito nets.3 

Following infection, most people don’t develop any symptoms.1  In the very few who do, Japanese encephalitis can be serious — it affects the brain (central nervous system), and may cause symptoms such as headache, fever and vomiting, followed by possible seizures (especially in children), weakness, and jerky movements and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.  In some cases it may result in death.1.2

Each time you plan to travel, show your doctor or travel medicine specialist, your travel itinerary at least 6-8 weeks before you leave4 to check if you need to take any precautionary measures against Japanese encephalitis.

JEV is found in many parts of Asia — including the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and China — and some parts of the western Pacific.1,2 

Japanese encephalitis FAQs

  • Japanese encephalitis - What is it?

    Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV).1,2  JEV is found in many parts of Asia — including the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and China — and some parts of the western Pacific.1,2  The risk of contracting Japanese encephalitis during travel is extremely low, but may vary depending on a number of factors — such as the season of travel, regions visited, and length of stay.1,2

  • Japanese encephalitis - How is it spread?

    Pigs and wading birds carry the virus, which is transferred from these animals to humans by the Culex species of mosquito.1  Travellers visiting regions where exposure to Japanese encephalitis is likely should take care to avoid mosquito bites1 – such as by using repellents, coils and sprays, and mosquito nets.3  The risk of contracting Japanese encephalitis during travel is extremely low, but may vary depending on a number of factors — such as the season of travel, regions visited, and length of stay.1,2

  • Japanese encephalitis - What are the symptoms?

    Following infection, most people don’t develop any symptoms.1  In the very few who do, Japanese encephalitis can be serious — it affects the brain (central nervous system), and may cause symptoms such as headache, fever and vomiting, followed by possible seizures (especially in children), weakness, and jerky movements and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.  In some cases it may result in death.1

  • Japanese encephalitis - How is it prevented?

    Japanese encephalitis is recommended for travellers who are to spend more than one month in rural areas of high-risk regions especially around flooded rice fields and fields with flooding irrigation.1  If you are likely to travel to an area where Japanese encephalitis exists try to avoid mosquito bites by:3

    • using mosquito repellents, coils and sprays
    • using mosquito nets to sleep under at night
    • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers to protect as much skin as possible. Light coloured clothing is better because dark colours tend to trap body heat, which attracts mosquitoes.

    Each time you plan to travel, show your doctor or travel medicine specialist, your travel itinerary at least 6-8 weeks before you leave4 to check if you need to take any precautionary measures against Japanese encephalitis.

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