Japanese encephalitis is a rare but serious illness caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus. It is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes.
Most people who get Japanese encephalitis do not have any symptoms.
Some people may get symptoms such as:
People with a severe infection (1 in every 250 people) may get symptoms such as:
If you get these symptoms, contact a doctor right away, or Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or in an emergency call Triple Zero (000) or visit your nearest emergency department.
Among those who get a serious illness, some may have lifelong neurological complications or even death.
If you get symptoms, they can appear 5 to 15 days after getting bitten by infected mosquitoes.
It is spread when a mosquito bites an animal (such as pigs or waterbirds) that has the Japanese encephalitis virus and then this mosquito bites a human.
Humans are not able to give Japanese encephalitis virus to other humans. Humans cannot get Japanese encephalitis virus by touching an infected animal or eating animal products.
Those who are more likely to get Japanese encephalitis virus are:
If you have the symptoms listed above a doctor may run a test to detect a virus or measure levels of antibodies to Japanese encephalitis in samples of blood or spinal fluid.
There is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis. Patients with symptoms often need hospital support and sometimes intensive care.
The best way to avoid Japanese encephalitis is to not get bitten by mosquitoes.
The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is safe and effective. People aged 2 months and older can get the vaccine. Vaccination against Japanese encephalitis is recommended for those at the highest risk of getting Japanese Encephalitis.
Learn more about who can get a
Vaccine is also recommended to some people
travelling to high-risk countries.
If you think you might be able to get the vaccine, talk to your local doctor.