The only Japanese encephalitis vaccine licensed for use in US children
is no longer available, CDC officials reported online this week.
The makers of the vaccine, JE-Vax, ceased manufacturing the product
about 2 years ago. Around the same time, the FDA approved an inactivated, Vero
cell culture-derived Japanese encephalitis vaccine, Ixiaro (Novartis), for use
Although pediatric studies are ongoing, it will likely be several years
before Ixiaro is licensed in the United States for use in children, CDC
Current options for obtaining Japanese encephalitis vaccine for US
children include: enrolling children in the ongoing clinical trial;
administering Ixiaro off-label; or receiving
Japanese encephalitis vaccine at an international
travelers’ health clinic in Asia.
The clinical trial is enrolling children aged 2 months to 17 years at
five US sites (trial identifier NCT01047839). The study is open-label, and all
enrollees receive two doses of Ixiaro administered 28 days apart. A third study
visit is required 56 days after the first dose of the vaccine. Additional
information about the clinical trial is available online from the NIH.
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
recommends that all travelers, including children, take precautions to avoid
mosquito bites to reduce the risk for [Japanese encephalitis] and other
vector-borne infectious diseases,” the CDC wrote in its report.
“These precautions include using insect repellent, permethrin-impregnated
clothing, and bed nets, and staying in accommodations with screened or