Why should you be vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis?

What is Japanese Encephalitis?
Japanese Encephalitis is a viral infection of the brain that is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. The virus is found in pigs and birds which gets passed on to the mosquitoes when they bite the infected animal.  Despite the name Japanese Encephalitis is found in parts of Asia and the Pacific Rim, the mosquitoes that transmit the virus mostly feed during the night, between dusk to dawn and are found in rural areas. However, they are also found in urban areas.

Most people who get infected by the Japanese encephalitis virus show either no symptoms or short-lived symptoms, which are often mistaken for the flu. However, 1 in every 250 people who become infected with Japanese encephalitis develop more server symptoms as the infection spreads to the brain. These Symptoms usually happen 5 to 15 days after they have been infected, these include:

  • High temperature (fever)Seizures
  • A stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Unable to speak
  • Uncontrollable shaking of your body parts
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis

1 in every 3 people who develop these more serious symptoms will most likely die as a result. For those people who survive, the symptoms tend to slowly improve over time. It can take several months to make a full recovery, for those who do survive will be left with permanent brain damage, which lead to long-term problems.

Treatment & Prevention
There is currently no cure for JE, a person who is infected by the virus usually needs to be admitted to hospital so they can be given fluids, oxygen, and medication. The treatment is only given to support the function of the body as it tries to fight off the infection. The best way to prevent Japanese encephalitis is to be vaccinated against the infection before you visit a part of the world where the virus is more common. You will be at an even greater risk if you’re planning to visit rural areas or go hiking or camping. The vaccine that prevents you from getting infected is available at Miles pharmacy travel clinic. Even if you have been vaccinated it is always important to take extra precaution to reduce your risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito. You can take extra care by:

  • Sleeping in rooms with close-fitted gauze that cover the widow and doors, which will prevent any mosquitoes getting into the room
  • Cover up with long sleeve and long trousers
  • Invest in a good-quality insect repellent