Vaccines for preventing Japanese encephalitis

Added April 10, 2013

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It is not possible to compare the effectiveness of currently used vaccines in preventing clinical disease as only one of three vaccines has been directly investigated for effectiveness in an RCT.

Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease of the central nervous system with general symptoms of headache, fever, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Most people recover within a week without further complications, but approximately 1 in 300 suffers additional and severe symptoms such as disorientation, seizures, paralysis, and coma. Around 30% of the severe cases are fatal, and most survivors are left with serious and often chronic disabilities such as mental impairment, limb paralysis, and blindness. Vaccination is recognized as the only practical measure for preventing Japanese encephalitis, but production shortage, costs, and issues of licensure impair vaccination programmes in many affected countries. Concerns over vaccine effectiveness and safety also have a negative impact on acceptance and uptake. This review evaluates vaccines for preventing Japanese encephalitis in terms of effectiveness, adverse events, and immunogenicity.