Japanese encephalitis is a rare but serious viral brain infection caused by the spread through mosquito bite. The virus starts with a mosquito biting an infected pig or bird, then going on to bite a human, transmitting the disease. The virus is most common in South East Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Far East.
Signs and Symptoms
Japanese encephalitis doesn’t always present symptoms, but if they do occur they’re usually mild and flu-like. Symptoms include: High temperature (fever), seizures, stiff neck, confusion Inability to speak, uncontrollable shaking of body parts, muscle weakness or paralysis.
The virus has no cure, however treatment can be given to aid the body as it fights off the infection including fluids, oxygen and medication.
The most effective way to prevent Japanese encephalitis is by means of vaccination. It’s also important to protect against being bitten by mosquitos. To help prevent bites, you should: Use mosquito nets, wear long sleeves and trousers that are loose-fitting, spray rooms with insecticide, wear insect repellent.
The vaccination, given as an injection, is administered in two doses for protection. The second dose can either be given 28 days after the first, or, for adults aged 18-65, seven days after the first (an ‘accelerated’ schedule). The two doses should be completed at least seven days before your departure. You should have a booster injection 12 to 24 months after the initial vaccination.