WHAT IS IT ?
Japanese encephalitis is an infection of the brain spread by mosquitoes.
The consequences of infection are very bad in the majority of the infected individuals, with the death of over 30% of people.
There is no treatment, so vaccination is vital.
WHERE IS IT FOUND ?
Travellers to Southeast Asia and the subcontinent will be at risk for Japanese Encephalitis.
HOW TO PREVENT IT ?
Get vaccinated. The vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis is very safe and effective.
Take care to prevent mosquito bites throughout the day.
Please see our page on preventing mosquito bites in foreign countries.
What is Japanese Encephalitis?
Japanese encephalitis is a virus infection spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Encephalitis means inflammation and swelling of the brain.
Japanese Encephalitis is found in Asia in countries extending from India to Japan and down to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
This disease may cause fever and headaches. Severe infections can cause coma or even death.
Why does Japanese Encephalitis matter to you?
There are an estimated 2.5 million infections a year.
About 50,000 of these are serious.
Up to 4 in 10 of these infections can be fatal
30 -35 % of patients are left with permanent long term disabilities such as paralysis
How to prevent Japanese Encephalitis.
Vaccination and the prevention of mosquito bites are the two main ways to prevent Infection of Japanese Encephalitis. There is no treatment that cures Japanese Encephalitis, so vaccination is the best route to deal with this disease.
The Japanese Encephalitis vaccine currently available in Ontario is under the brand name of Ixiaro. It is a vaccine given in two doses that are four weeks apart. It prevents Japanese Encephalitis. Our travel doctor will advise you if Japanese Encephalitis is required and appropriate for you.
Mosquito Bite Prevention
Remain in screened areas, wear clothing that covers most of your body, and use an effective insect repellent containing up to 30% DEET.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants/skirts. (if the weather allows)
- Wear light colored clothing. Dark clothing affords camouflage to the mosquito.
- Sleep under a mosquito net at night. These may be impregnated with permethrin, which further increases their efficacy.
- Use a repellent containing DEET. This is the most effective repellent. Use repellant that has a DEET concentration between 22% and 50%.
- Between dusk and dawn, apply the repellant every 5-6 hours (or earlier if needed) on all exposed areas of the skin and areas that may become exposed later on in the day.
- Garlic, Vitamin B, and ultrasound/ zappers do not work.
- If sunscreen is needed, the recommendation is to apply sunscreen first, before applying the repellent.
- Clothing, shoes, bed nets, mesh jackets, and camping gear can be treated with permethrin for added protection. Permethrin should never be applied to skin, but only to clothing, bed nets, or other fabrics as directed on the product label.
- Do not use DEET on clothing. DEET can damage clothing, leather and car seats, but it is safe on human skin.
- DEET is safe in children down to two months of age
Precautions when Using Insect Repellents
- Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing, as directed on the product label. Do not use repellents under clothing.
- Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
- Do not apply repellents to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using sprays, do not spray directly on face-spray on hands first and then apply to face. Wash hands after application to avoid accidental exposure to eyes.
- Do not allow children to handle repellents. When using on children, adults should apply repellents to their hands first, and then put it on the child. It may be advisable to avoid applying to children’s hands.
- Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Heavy application and saturation are generally unnecessary for effectiveness. If biting insects do not respond to a thin film of repellent, apply a bit more.
- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe. This is particularly important when repellents are used repeatedly in a day or on consecutive days. Also, wash treated clothing before wearing it again. (This precaution may vary with different repellents – check the product label.)
- If anyone experiences a rash or other bad reaction from an insect repellent, the repellent use should be discontinued, the repellent should be washed off with mild soap and water, and a local poison control center should be called for further guidance. If seeking health care because of the repellent, take the repellent to the doctor’s office and show the doctor.
To get your Japanese Encephalitis vaccine call the GTA Travel Clinic and Vaccination Centre at 905 303 1900. We cover the Toronto, Richmond Hill and Woodbridge areas for Japanese encephalitis Vaccine
Please note: The information in this document is provided for general information purposes only. Nothing takes the place of speaking with a travel doctor . This information and your receipt thereof is not intended to be, nor shall be deemed to be, informed consent by you to any medical care or treatment whatsoever. Please consult our doctors at the GTA Travel Clinic and Vaccination Centre for a proper pre-travel medical assessment.
Please note that the vaccine is not a benefit of O.H.I.P.
If you have private health insurance through work or school you may be covered for vaccines. With your payment we will provide you with an invoice (with the unique Drug Identification Number for each vaccine) so you can claim your expenses back from your insurance company.
Insurance companies will require Drug Identification Numbers for each vaccine in order to reimburse you.
Click here to find the names and phone numbers of major Insurance Companies.