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Japanese Encephalitis.. would you / have you had it??

Travel Forums Asia Japanese Encephalitis.. would you / have you had it??

1. Posted by sofe1978 (Respected Member 127 posts) 8y

Hi All

I'm in the process of getting all my jabs and I am just not sure about Japanese Encephalitis? We will be in SE Asia from around February 2009 - probably October / November 2009 covering, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo & Phillipines.

The nurse has said that it's basically up to us if we want it or not. I am swaying towards yes but it is £88 for the course so I don't really want to spend that money if most people think it's not really necessary?

What is everyone's thoughts.. have you had it if you are in Asia during the wet season?

Thanks for any advice.

Sophie x

2. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 8y

Hello Sophie :)

I never get that vaccination.
Maybe let your decision depend on how much time u are going to spend outside cities. If u will be spending weeks at a time outside cities then it is probably a good idea to get the vaccination.


3. Posted by sofe1978 (Respected Member 127 posts) 8y

Hey Mel

Thanks for your answer.. the tricky thing is that we really don't know at this stage as we haven't really planned out our route exactly.. I guess though that we will spend some time out of the cities as this is where we usually prefer to be...

As an additional point I have just read that the 3 jabs (that will cost me £88) are only 'valid' for 1 year. Now if I start to have them around now because we leave in June then they will have expired by the time we get to Asia next Feb!!!

It says you can have a booster after 1 year. I'm having Hep B at the moment and have been told I'll need a booster for this after 1 year too so I am going to need to find somewhere to have that jab anyway so that brings me onto another question..

How easy is it to have these jabs in Asian countries when you are travelling.. is it a case of just going to a hospital and asking??

Also how expensive are they outside the UK??

Gosh why are things so complicated!!

Thanks again

Sophie x

4. Posted by stoa (Budding Member 17 posts) 8y

Hi sofe,

just wanted to say that I've been having the same thoughts, will be in East and SE-Asia from March through May. After conferring other travelers as well as my nurse I decided not to go for the Japanese Encephalitis. From what I hear from others people are generally not getting this vaccination unless they really plan on spending a vast part of their time in rural areas during the "season", which I believe starts at the end of May.

Of course you never know for sure and there's always some chance you might get it, but I believe the risk is that low (compared to the prize of the shot!) that I feel confident in not having it.

Just my two cents, but of course I'm no doctor and haven't even been there yet so I have no expertise.

5. Posted by Pyjamarama (Budding Member 16 posts) 8y

I'm going to South East Asia and South America and my doctor never even mentioned it when I got my jabs. I had read up on it and most people don't seem to bother with it but I guess it depends were you are going. Even if you are travelling outside of cities you probably won't be in rural areas that long as you will go through towns/cities etc to get buses to other areas, if that makes sense?!

6. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Hi Sofie!

Here is what the CDC has to say about JE:

Risk for Travelers
The risk to short-term travelers and those who confine their travel to urban centers is very low. Expatriates and travelers living for prolonged periods in rural areas where JE is endemic or epidemic are at greater risk. Travelers with extensive outdoor, evening, and nighttime exposure in rural areas, such as might be experienced while bicycling, camping, working outdoors, or sleeping in unscreened structures without bed nets, may be at high risk even if their trip is brief.

The Directors of Health Promotion and Educaton say:

The chance that a traveler to Asia will get Japanese encephalitis is very small: 1) only certain mosquito species can spread Japanese encephalitis; 2) in areas infested with mosquitoes, only a small portion of the mosquitoes are usually infected with Japanese encephalitis virus; 3) among persons who are infected by a mosquito bite, only 1 in 50 to 1 in 1,000 will develop an illness. As a result, fewer than 1 case per year is reported in U.S. civilians and military personnel traveling to and living in Asia. Only 5 cases among Americans traveling or working in Asia have been reported since 1981.

Though JE is becoming more prevalent, it is still affecting more of the local populations than travelers visiting for your duration of time. The choice still remains yours, but the risk is limited.

7. Posted by sofe1978 (Respected Member 127 posts) 8y

Thanks for all your help on this everyone

We've decided not to have it now. This is a bonus for 2 reasons...
1. It's 3 less jabs for me to have and I have the most major phobia of needles so this is such good news
2. It's £176 more to spend while travelling which is about a week more we can add to our trip ;)

Sophie x