Control of Japanese Encephalitis in Japan: Immunization of Humans and Animals, and Vector Control

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Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a serious acute viral encephalitis with high case fatality; approximately half of the survivors suffer from grave sequelae accompanied by neuropsychiatric disorders. Its causative agent, JE virus, is a member of the genus Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae, and is a typical mosquito-borne arbovirus according to its mode of transmission. Its principal vector is Culex tritaeniorhynchus and related species, and its major amplifier is swine. Humans are relatively insensitive to JE virus and are considered as dead-end hosts in the transmission cycle. Based on the mode of transmission, three strategies have been considered for the control of human JE: (1) vector control, (2) swine immunization, and (3) human immunization. All of them have been carried out in the epidemiological settings of Japan, and the findings are described briefly below.