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A traveller to any of 24 countries in Asia can be infected with JE virus, which is related to mosquito-borne Zika, dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile viruses. In rare cases, JE viral infection can result in encephalitis.

A traveller to any of 24 countries in Asia can be infected with JE virus, which is related to mosquito-borne Zika, dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile viruses. In rare cases, JE viral infection can result in encephalitis.

What is Japanese Encephalitis (JE)?

Japanese Encephalitis is a serious disease found throughout Asia. It is caused by the “JE virus” and is transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

The majority of infections are ‘asymptomatic’ (show no symptoms); clinical disease develops in 1 in every 50-1,000 people infected. Over 70,000 clinical cases are reported worldwide each year, although the figure could be much higher due to inadequate surveillance in many Asian countries where the virus is endemic.

What are the symptoms of JE?

Patients developing overt illness usually experience flu-like symptoms such as high fever, nausea and vomiting, which may progress to seizures or coma. While some patients experience a full recovery, JE can be fatal in 3 in 10 patients. 50% of patients who survive are left with permanent, long-term disabilities (e.g., paralysis, inability to talk).

Summary of outcomes of symptomatic JE

Adapted from IXIARO® Product Monograph.

Complications of JE can include cognitive, neurological and behavioral disturbances, seizures, as well as neuromuscular dysfunction.

Mosquitoes may bite as soon as TRAVELLERS arrive

Cases of JE have been reported in non-vaccinated, short-term travellers to endemic areas.

Where does JE occur?

You may be at risk of Japanese Encephalitis while you travel in Southeast Asia

  • JE is one of the most common causes of viral encephalitis in Asia and may be underreported due to inadequate surveillance in many Asian countries where the virus is endemic.
  • Unvaccinated travellers from non-endemic countries of any age may be affected.
  • For most travellers to Asia, the risk for JE is low but varies on the basis of destination, season, length of stay, and activities.

Not just Japan

While the first case of JE disease was documented in 1871 in Japan, the JE virus has since spread throughout Asia, and it may be more appropriate to think of JE as an Asian encephalitis. The JE virus is endemic to more than 24 countries across Asia, Southeast Asia, and parts of the western Pacific.

The risk also exists in urban areas

Besides rural areas, circulation of JE virus has been demonstrated in mosquitoes within several cities in Southeast Asia.

The boundaries between rural and urban areas are blurred.

Visitors to areas where JE is endemic, or epidemic are at higher risk of being infected with JE compared to the local population.

Anyone travelling to Asia should be assessed for risks and educated about JE prevention strategies.

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