We feel it is important to let you know you can prevent some types of encephalitis that are transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes.

We know first-hand the impact that Japanese encephalitis and Tick-borne encephalitis can have on individuals and their families.

The World Health Organization estimates that there are 68,000 clinical cases of Japanese encephalitis each year – with a death rate of 30 per cent.

The virus is mainly transmitted between mosquitoes and pigs or birds. However, humans visiting endemic areas such as South-East Asia, India, southern China, the Pacific, and Australia can also be infected after a mosquito bite.

While there is no cure, there are steps that can be taken to protect people who live in or are travelling to affected areas.

The primary defence is a licensed vaccine available in many countries throughout the world. We recommend visiting your local Travel Clinic or general practitioner/physician for up-to-date advice about whether you should have the vaccine. You can also take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

Tick-borne encephalitis, meanwhile, is caused by bites from ticks and is found in many countries throughout Europe and Asia.

In rare cases, it can also be transmitted by consuming unpasteurised dairy products.

Figures from the World Health Organization estimate that there are around 10,000 to 12,000 cases each year – this number is considered to be an underestimate.

Walking or staying in rural areas, particularly rambling, cycling and outdoor activities will put you at a higher risk of contracting Tick-borne encephalitis.

Like Japanese encephalitis, there is a vaccine available and we recommend you visit your local Travel Clinic or general practitioner/physician for advice about whether you are visiting an endemic area and should have the vaccine.

As in the case of mosquito bites, you can also take precautions to avoid being bitten by ticks (Visit www.tickalert.org for more information).

There are many different measures you can take to help prevent a bite from a mosquito or tick: 

  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and trousers tucked into boots;
  • Sleep under bed nets;
  • Avoid spending any time in heavily infested areas or near stagnant water;
  • Wear mosquito/tick repellents; and
  • Avoid eating unpasteurised dairy products.