Treatment and Prevention of Japanese Encephalitis

Key points

  • There is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis (JE); clinical management is supportive.
  • Monitor patients closely for severe complications.
  • Counsel travelers at risk for JE about vaccination and using personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Patients with JE should not donate blood for 4 months after their illness.
Doctor pouring pills into their hand


There is no specific treatment for JE; clinical management is supportive. Patients with severe meningeal symptoms often require pain control for headaches and antiemetic therapy and rehydration for associated nausea and vomiting. Patients with encephalitis require close monitoring for the development of elevated intracranial pressure, seizures, and inability to protect their airway.


JE can be prevented through vaccination. One JE vaccine (called IXIARO) is available in the United States.

Regardless of vaccination status, travelers should be advised to use personal protective measures to decrease exposure to infected mosquitoes. This includes using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and treating clothing and gear with 0.5% permethrin. Travelers should choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or screens on windows and doors. More information about preventing mosquito bites while traveling can be found on the CDC Mosquitoes website.

JE virus can rarely be transmitted through blood transfusions. People with confirmed JE virus infections should not donate blood for 120 days (4 months) after their illness.