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Monsoon Season will Bring Japanese Encephalitis

BALTIMORE, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2009 monsoon season will soon arrive in the Asian territories and culicine mosquito populations are expected to increase. "These mosquitoes may carry the virus that causes Japanese Encephalitis (JE), which kills 10-15,000 people each year," warned Fran Lessans, CEO of Passport Health, the largest provider of travel medical services in the U.S. A new vaccine called Ixiaro(R) has been approved by the FDA, and is ready for distribution in the United States. Some Passport Health's offices will have both JE-VAX(R) and Ixiaro(R) until JE-VAX(R) is phased out. "The new vaccine is good for adults over 18 so we still have to use JE-VAX(R) for the younger population," concluded Lessans. Both vaccines protect against JE.

Monsoons flood areas with fresh rain water and this attracts culicine mosquitoes which may carry the virus that causes Japanese Encephalitis. 30,000-50,000 people are infected each year. An educational video is available here ( ).

China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand have seen epidemics of Japanese Encephalitis. The CDC explains that the disease is controlled primarily by vaccination in these areas. "Vaccination is the best prevention for this potentially deadly disease," cautioned Lessans, whose clients' number one travel destination is India, followed by China. "JE is endemic in northeastern India and we see outbreaks in China as well."

The new JE vaccine is given in a 2-shot series, 28 days apart, while JE-VAX(R) requires 3 doses. The FDA has approved the new vaccine and it is already available at some Passport Health offices.

Japanese Encephalitis is a serious infection which occurs in certain rural parts of Asia and it's transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. It causes the brain to swell and symptoms of severe infections include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, abnormal movements, occasional convulsions (especially in infants), coma, and paralysis. About 1 in 4 of such cases results in death.

"In addition to being vaccinated travelers need to know how to use the correct type of mosquito repellent and other precautionary measures," cautioned Lessans. She went on to offer some tips for travelers:

  • Remain in well-screened areas whenever possible
  • Wear clothes that cover most of the body
  • Use an insect repellent containing 20%-30% DEET on skin.
  • Spray Permethrin on clothes, bedding and mosquito nets

For more information visit or call 888-499-(PASS)

    Jorge Castillo

SOURCE Passport Health
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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