Travellers to countries in South East Asia, including Bali and Thailand are being encouraged to vaccinate themselves against Japanese Encephalitis in light of a recent spike in reported infections.
Japanese encephalitis is a rare viral illness spread by mosquitoes that causes brain inflammation. The mosquito can infect certain animals as well as humans. It does not transmit person to person, it can only be transmitted by a direct bite from an infected mosquito, bird, bat, cow or pig.
The disease infects around 30,000-50,000 people annually, with the vast majority of cases occurring in South East Asia. Most cases occur in rural agricultural areas such as rice fields and irrigated farming areas.
Most people who contract Japanese Encephalitis experience only mild symptoms of fever and headache. Symptoms usually appear between 5-15 days following the mosquito bite. However, in around 1 in 200 cases, the infection causes severe illness with symptoms including:
- High fevers and headaches
- Neck stiffness
- Confusion & disorientation
- Paralysis & tremors
Around 30% of people who experience severe symptoms die from the infection and for those who survive, many will have long-lasting neurological damage. If a woman contracts the infection while pregnant, […]