What is Japanese encephalitis?
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain caused by a virus that can be spread to humans through mosquito bites. Most people infected with JE virus (about 99%) do not have any symptoms or have mild symptoms.
Am I at risk of JE virus?
JE virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Not all mosquitoes can carry the JE virus. People most at risk of JE virus include people who:
- Spend significant time outdoors
- Are in flood affected areas.
What can I do to protect myself from JE?
The most effective way to reduce your risk of Japanese encephalitis virus infection and other mosquito-borne diseases is by avoiding mosquito bites and removing mosquito breeding sites around your home.
Who is eligible for free Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus vaccination?
JE vaccine is available free-of-charge for people aged 2 months or older who live in Horsham Rural City Council & regularly spend time engaging in outdoor activities that place them as risk of mosquito bites. This includes those who engage in outdoor flood recovery (clean-up) efforts in either volunteer or professional capacity.
What vaccine will I receive?
Imojev® vaccine is prioritised in Victoria’s current public health response.
Imojev®, is available for people aged ≥9 months and requires only a single dose. Imojev® cannot be given to some people because it is a live attenuated viral vaccine. Women should avoid pregnancy for 28 days after vaccination.
If a person is eligible for a JE vaccine but cannot receive Imojev®, JEspect® can be used on authorisation.
JEspect® should only be used for people who are:
- Immunocompromised*, OR
- Aged 2 months to < 9months, OR
- People requiring their second dose, OR
- Pregnant or breastfeeding, OR
- Within 6 weeks (preferably 3 months) of receiving immunoglobulins or immunoglobulin- containing products.
Most people will develop protection within 14 days of receiving Imojev® vaccine and 28 days following a full course of JEspect® vaccine.
It is important that people continue to protect themselves from mosquito-borne disease following vaccination.
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Common side effects of JE vaccines are:
- Redness and
- Swelling at the injection site.
Fever may occur and is more common in children. Headache or muscle aches can also occur, mainly in adults. These side effects usually go away within a few days. Severe reactions to JE vaccine are very rare.