Japanese Encephalitis | Symptoms, Treatment, Vaccines
What is Japanese Encephalitis?
Japanese Encephalitis is a viral disease, transmitted by mosquito bites, which can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and may lead to permanent brain damage or death. It is the leading cause of viral encephalitis in South-East Asia and the Far East.
What Are The Symptoms?
In most cases the disease does not produce any symptoms. In the small number of cases where symptoms appear severity varies. Mild infections are characterised by fever and headache. Severe cases can develop rapidly, with headaches, high fever and symptoms like those of meningitis. When encephalitis develops there is a 1 in 3 chance of death, and the survivors will have a 1 in 2 chance of being left with permanent disability.
How Is It Contracted?
The disease is most commonly transmitted by various species of Culex mosquito that become infected after feeding on infected pigs or birds.
Who Is At Most Risk?
The disease is extremely rare in travellers. The risk increases for travellers staying in rural and especially agricultural areas within the high risk regions listed below.
Where Are You At Risk?
Japanese encephalitis is found only in Asia - from India (and a small area in Pakistan) eastwards across Thailand, China, Korea, Japan, down through South-East Asia - and Northern Australia.
The highest transmission rates occur during and just after the wet seasons when the mosquitoes are most active.
The vaccine is recommended for anyone over one year of age who will be at increased risk. The usual vaccination schedule is a series of injections.
When Should You Be Vaccinated?
Check with your practice nurse as soon as you have decided where and when you will be travelling, and they will advise on an appropriate vaccination schedule for you. It is recommended that vaccination is completed 2 weeks prior to travel.
Does The Vaccine Have Any Side Effects?
Like most injections, some people may experience tenderness and redness at the site of the injection. Japanese Encephalitis cannot be contracted directly from the vaccine.
Source Of information
GlaxoSmithKline, Wikipedia, local doctors, local hospitals, newspaper articles, various.
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