Dengue fever remains the most common mosquito borne disease in Bali. However Japanese Encephalitis is much more severe with more reported cases year after year. The disease is essentially a brain infection and can be potentially lethal and those who survive often recover with neurological complications.
The disease is most often contracted in rural parts of S.E Asia meaning holidays to urban areas and resorts don’t usually require the vaccine. Planning to go off the beaten path? If so, the vaccine for the disease should definitely be considered.
Japanese encephalitis is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito similar to West Nile Virus. The disease essentially causes swelling of the brain with the possibility of long-term nerve and brain damage.
The risk to most travellers is low especially if you are visiting or living in urban areas only. If you are planning a visit to a rural or agriculture area over an extended period however or you are participating in an outdoor sporting activity you should best protect yourself by getting vaccinated.
Mosquitoes that carry Japanese encephalitis are active and bite mostly from sunset to sunrise and once bitten symptoms can take up to two weeks to appear and it’s common for many people to show no symptoms at all.
In acute cases symptoms typically include an onset of fever, headaches, and vomiting along with neck stiffness, confusion and behavioral changes, weakness, paralysis, coma, seizures, or convulsions. The disease is fatal in about 20-30% of severe cases.
To date there is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis but medical care will aid in recovery and maintain a safer condition.
Japanese encephalitis exists in almost all Asian countries and is mainly an issue in rural agricultural areas with extensive irrigation such as rice-growing areas.
Recommendations: Consult a BIMC healthcare provider if you plan on rural travel in Indonesia and protect yourself from mosquito bites and certainly consider getting vaccinated.