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North Carolina Immunization Branch

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Japanese Encephalitis

The Disease

Japanese encephalitis is caused by a virus spread by mosquitoes.  It is not spread from person to person.  The disease is not common in the United States.  Countries which have had major epidemics in the past, but which have controlled the disease primarily by vaccination, include China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand. Other countries that still have periodic epidemics include Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, and Malaysia.

The Vaccine

Two Japanese encephalitis vaccines are licensed for use in the U.S.

JE-VAX, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, has been licensed for use in adult and pediatric travelers in the United States since 1992. Although production of JE-VAX was discontinued in 2006, stockpiles of the vaccine will be used for U.S. travelers, that are children ages 1-16 years, until they are depleted.

  • IXIARO is licensed for use in adult travelers who are at least 17 years of age. The new vaccine is manufactured by Intercell Biomedical and distributed in the United States by Novartis Vaccines.

Who Should get Vaccinated?

In general, vaccine should be offered to persons spending a month or longer in endemic areas during the transmission season, especially if travel will include rural areas.  Japanese encephalitis vaccine is NOT recommended for all travelers to Asia.

North Carolina Requirements

Japanese encephalitis vaccination is not required in North Carolina.

Additional Resources:

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