Japanese Encephalitis is a popular disease among adventure seekers. From its name, the disease originated in Japan wherein the first outbreak happened around 1871. However, this does not suggest that Japanese Encephalitis is exclusive for Japan. It is endemic in 24 countries in Asia and Western Pacific. The disease is from Culex mosquitoes that carry the JE Virus.
JEV is a disease that has severe effects on the individual such as permanent disability and brain inflammation. These can lead to a possible coma, paralysis, and even death.
To prevent this illness from infecting our bodies, it is best to take precautionary measures such as:
- Get vaccinated
- Taking the extra step for your health is always the better option. Get vaccinated in your nearest hospital to lower the risk of acquiring Japanese Encephalitis. This is recommended for travelers who are spending 1 month or more in a JE endemic area.
- Avoid mosquitoes
- Mosquitoes are insects that are sometimes invisible to the naked eye. However, there are various ways on how we can avoid acquiring sickness from these insects. Avoiding mosquitoes can be done through:
- Use of insect repellent - Although Japanese Encephalitis is a traveler's disease, everyone must look out for themselves. To ensure good health, applying or putting mosquito patches, repellents, or lotions to drive away mosquitoes is a must.
- Proper trash management - Mosquitoes thrive in dirty places and proper trash management can decrease their habitats. Make sure to dispose the trash in their right categories.
- Eliminate standing water - Mosquito breeds in standing water. Standing water includes puddles, left water in pails and pet bowls. Additionally, do not forget to check on your gutters to see if the water is drained well.
- Make a mosquito trap - To take it to the next level, you can help your own household and community by reducing the mosquito population by creating a trap.
- Wear protective clothing - Wear long sleeves, pants, and sock when you are traveling to a JE endemic area. This will repel mosquitoes but note that these insects may still infect through thin clothing. Do not forget to spray insect repellent on your clothing as well.
References: Japanese Encephalitis. (2015, August 05). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/japaneseencephalitis/prevention/. ; Kraft, S. (2016, July 12). What is Japanese Encephalitis? Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181418.php. ; Japanese Encephalitis. (2017, June). Valneva. Retrieved from https://www.valnevauk.com/disease/japanese-encephalitis/#. ; Japanese Encephalitis. (2015 December). World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs386/en/. ; 13 Natural Ways To Keep Mosquitoes Away. (2016, July 28). Natural Living Ideas. Retrieved from http://www.naturallivingideas.com/13-natural-ways-to-keep-mosquitoes-away/.