Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine

Key points

  • One Japanese encephalitis vaccine (called IXIARO) is available in the United States.
  • Japanese encephalitis vaccine is approved for use in children aged 2 months and older and adults.
  • The vaccine should be considered for some travelers at higher risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Healthcare professional placing band aid on person's arm following a vaccination.

Japanese encephalitis vaccine

  • IXIARO is given as a two-dose series, with the doses spaced 28 days apart.
    • Adults aged 18–65 years can get the second dose from 7–28 days after the first dose.
    • Children aged 2 months to 17 years and adults aged >65 years can get the second dose 28 days after the first dose.
  • The last dose should be given at least 1 week before travel.
  • A booster dose (third dose) should be given if a person
    • received the two-dose primary vaccination series one year or more previously and
    • continues to be at risk for Japanese encephalitis virus infection or has potential for re-exposure to the virus.

Who should get vaccinated?

  • There is a very low risk of disease for most travelers going to countries with a risk of Japanese encephalitis.
  • Some travelers will be at increased risk of infection based on factors including:
    • longer periods of travel,
    • travel during the Japanese encephalitis virus transmission season,
    • spending time in rural areas,
    • participating in a lot of outdoor activities, and
    • staying in accommodations without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets.
  • Whether or not you get vaccinated, you should take steps to avoid mosquito bites.

Japanese encephalitis vaccine recommendations

Travelers to areas with risk for Japanese encephalitis should discuss the need for vaccination with their healthcare provider. The discussion should include:

  • risks related to the specific travel itinerary,
  • likelihood of future travel to countries where Japanese encephalitis virus occurs,
  • possible severe outcomes of Japanese encephalitis, and
  • information about the vaccine including cost and possible side effects.

Japanese encephalitis vaccine is recommended for persons moving to a Japanese encephalitis-endemic country to live, longer-term (e.g., 1 month or longer) travelers, and frequent travelers to Japanese encephalitis-endemic areas.

Japanese encephalitis vaccine also should be considered for:

  • shorter-term (e.g., less than 1 month) travelers with an increased risk of Japanese encephalitis based on planned travel duration, season, location, activities, and accommodations, and
  • for travelers who are uncertain of specific duration of travel, destinations, or activities.

Japanese encephalitis vaccine is not recommended for travelers with very low risk itineraries, such as shorter-term travel limited to urban areas or travel that occurs outside of a well-defined Japanese encephalitis virus transmission season.

To learn more about the vaccine, visit our Healthcare Providers page.