Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. Many individuals infected with Japanese encephalitis virus will have very mild or no symptoms. However, in some cases Japanese encephalitis can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) resulting in:
• high fever
In such cases, infection can lead to permanent brain damage or be fatal.
Vaccination is the most effective form of prevention against Japanese encephalitis. It is very important to speak to your travel GP at least 6 weeks before traveling overseas, to see if you need a Japanese encephalitis vaccine. Once infected, there is no specific treatment for the disease.
The risk of infection is highest in Asian countries, including several common travel destinations from Australia (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and India). Whilst rare outbreaks have occurred in the outer Torres Strait Islands, only one locally acquired infection has ever been reported in Australia (far north Queensland).