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a VirtualTourist member asked on Jun 26, 2015


Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine Needed in the Northern Part of Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong,Sapa, ) Area?

At the end of July/beginning of August I will be taking the train from Hanoi to the Northwest Vietnam to Lao Cai stop (near the border of China), then headed to Sapa. We will be going for a walk to some villages, which are surrounding the area. I understand this is now somewhat touristy.

Have there been concerns with Japanese Encephalitis? I am wondering if any of you have had the inoculation in anticipation of traveling to this area.Have you heard of anyone getting bitten?

1 Answer

answered on 6/26/15 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Imo you should seek travel health advice from a medical professional and not from internet forums, even excellent ones like VT. The experiences of others are in not relevant to you, your personal health status and the specific itinerary you will be following on your specific dates.

The site you link states that Japanese encephalitis is *endemic* countrywide and year-round in Vietnam.
That means it exists everywhere and all year round.

It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito. Whether a location is 'touristy' or not does not affect the possibility of mosquito bites, whether from a mosquito infected with Japanese encephalitis or not, although the official government travel health advisory notes that the risk is higher for travellers in rural areas:

It's really entirely up to you. Personally, I'd rather spend the money and know I was inoculated than take the risk. Just the same as I'd take anti-malarials if a medical professional advised that doing so was a sensible precaution for the are I intended to visit.

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