Source: MedPage Today
By: Neale, Todd
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has voted unanimously in favor of expanding the recommended use of the inactivated Vero cell culture-derived Japanese encephalitis vaccine (Ixiaro) to include travelers aged two months to 16 years. The vaccine is already approved for the prevention of Japanese encephalitis in travelers ages 17 years and older. The disease is often asymptomatic, and less than 1 percent of infected individuals develop clinical disease; but it has a mortality rate of 20 percent to 30 percent and up to half of survivors may be left with serious neurological problems. Among U.S. residents, the disease risk is limited to those traveling to areas of Asia where the virus is endemic. The vaccine’s approval in the younger age groups was supported by three pediatric trials which found that Ixiaro had immunogenicity comparable to other Japanese encephalitis vaccines as well as comparable rates of adverse events. The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is recommended for travelers who intend to spend at least one month in endemic areas, and it may be considered for those traveling less than a month to endemic areas if they plan to be outside an urban area and have an increased risk for exposure.