Japanese encephalitis is a serious infection caused by a virus present in many parts of Asia. The Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is spread between mosquitoes and animals such as pigs and wading birds. If an infected mosquito bites a human, it can lead to infection and illness. The infection cannot be spread from person to person.
Most people who become infected have no symptoms, but some may experience fever and headache. The most common complication of JEV infection is encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. About 25 percent of cases with severe encephalitis infections can result in death.
The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is an inactivated vaccine that is very effective at preventing infection. It is a two-dose vaccine administered 4 weeks apart; the second dose must be completed at least one week before travel. The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is approved for people age 2 months and older.
Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should ask their doctor if they should receive the vaccine.
Severe Problems (Rare):
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease pain and reduce fever.
It is extremely rare for this vaccine to cause serious harm or death. If the person getting the vaccine has a serious reaction, call the doctor or seek immediate medical attention.
The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is available at Walgreens Pharmacy. Ages vary by state.
Walk in or schedule an appointment at the location nearest you.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.
Call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at 800-232-4636 or visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines for more vaccine information.
Hamborsky J, Kroger A, Wolfe S, eds. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 13th ed. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation, 2015.
Vaccine Information Statement: Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine (What You Need to Know) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 01/24/2014. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/je-ixiaro.pdf Accessed April 2016.
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