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If you travel internationally (e.g. gap year, holiday, visiting families, business), it is important to get informed and protected. This is because the consequences of encephalitis (although rare) can be devastating: death and an acquired brain injury from mild to severe disability.
Infectious encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain caused by an infection (e.g. virus, bacteria). Some types of infectious encephalitis can happen anywhere in the world (e.g. herpes simplex virus encephalitis). Other types are restricted to the areas where the virus causing the illness is endemic (e.g. Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, West-Nile virus).
Encephalitis is not a contagious illness, but the viruses responsible for it can be transmitted from human to human or via vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks or animals. People travelling internationally need to be aware of the risk of infectious encephalitis and their preventive measures (vaccination and general prevention method against ticks, mosquitoes and animal bites). Some types of encephalitis are vaccine-preventable: Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, rabies, varicella-zoster encephalitis and encephalitis caused by measles, mumps and rubella.
Use the tool below to check what vaccination is recommended depending on the country you are visiting. If you need further information and advice you can visit your GP surgery or a travel clinic.