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What is Japanese encephalitis?

Page last updated 10 July 2018

Japanese encephalitis (or JE) is a rare but serious viral infection of the human brain caused by the bite of a particular type of mosquito. The disease is rarely found in mainland Australia, however, it is relatively common in many parts of Asia (e.g. Southeast Asia, India, China). 

In the vast majority of cases (approaching 99%), people will experience very mild or no symptoms from an infection. In a small number of cases, infection may lead to swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and the associated symptoms, including headache, high fever, disorientation, coma, tremors and convulsions. 


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Sources & Citations

  1. South Australian Government. Department of Health. Japanese Encephalitis. Available at (accessed 28 March 2018).
  2. Queensland Government. Department of Health. Communicable Disease Control Guidance. Japanese Encephalitis (v1 March 2010; v1.1 April 2011). Available at: (accessed 28 March 2018).
  3. NSW Government, Department of Health, Communicable Diseases Factsheet – Japanese Encephalitis. Available at; (accessed 28 March 2018).
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Japanese Encephalitis. Available at: (accessed 28 March 2018).
  5. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition. 4.8 Japanese Encephalitis. Available at (accessed 28 March 2018).
  6. NT Government. Japanese encephalitis. Available at: (accessed 11 May 2018).

SPANZ.IMOJ.18.04.0141a - Date of preparation May 2018