Vaccines to Prevent Japanese Encephalitis (JE): Ixiaro

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a serious infection caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus. It is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Updated: December 9, 2017

It is important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time.  Vaccines also protect teenagers and adults to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a serious infection caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus. It is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It occurs mainly in rural parts of Asia. Risk is higher for people living in areas where the disease is common, or for people traveling there for long periods of time.
Most of the time people infected with JE virus do not have any symptoms. But sometime they may  experience fever, neck stiffness, seizures, and coma. It can lead to brain infection, permanent disability or even death. The infection in a pregnant woman could harm her unborn baby. JE vaccine can help protect travelers from JE disease.

JE vaccine:

Japanese encephalitis vaccine is approved for children of age 2 months and older. It is recommended for travelers to Asia who:
  • plan to spend at least a month in areas where JE occurs
  • plan to travel for less than a month, but will visit rural areas and spend a lot of time outdoors
  • travel to areas where there is a JE outbreak
  • are not sure of their travel plans
Laboratory workers at risk for exposure to JE virus should also be vaccinated.
There should be two dose of this vaccine given in the interval of 28 days. The second dose should be given at least a week before travel.
A smaller dose can be given to children under 3 years of age compare to children who are 3 or older. For anyone 17 or older who was vaccinated more than a year ago and is still at risk of exposure are recommended to get a booster dose. Booster dose is not required for children. The best way to prevent JE is to avoid mosquito bites. Your doctor can advise you better on this.

You should not get this vaccine if:

You have ever had a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of JE vaccine.
You have a severe or life threatening allergy to any component of JE vaccine. If you are aware of any severe allergies, speak to your doctor or the person giving you vaccine.
Pregnant women should not get JE vaccine. Check with your doctor if you are pregnant.
You will be traveling for fewer than 30 days and will be staying in urban areas.

Risks of JE vaccine:

There are chances of side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are rare.
Some of the mild Problems following JE vaccine include:  
  • Pain, tenderness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Headache, muscle aches
Severe reactions to JE vaccine are very rare. Usually these problems begin soon after the shot and last 1 or 2 days. You can get more information about the reaction from your doctor.

Problems that could happen after any vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.

Learn more about Vaccine:

Your doctor can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
You can call your local or state health department or can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by:
        Calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
        Visiting  CDC vaccines website

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