Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a serious public health concern in most of Asia. The disease is caused by JE virus (JEV), a flavivirus transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. Several vaccines have been developed to control JE in endemic areas as well as to protect travelers and military personnel who visit or are commissioned from non-endemic to endemic areas. The vaccines include inactivated vaccines produced in mouse brain or cell cultures, live attenuated vaccines, and a chimeric vaccine based on the live attenuated yellow fever virus 17D vaccine strain. All the marketed vaccines belong to the JEV genotype III, but have been shown to be efficacious against other genotypes and strains, with varying degrees of cross-neutralization, albeit at levels deemed to be protective. The protective responses have been shown to last three or more years, depending on the type of vaccine and the number of doses. This review presents a brief account of the different JE vaccines, their immunogenicity and protective ability, and the impact of JE vaccines in reducing the burden of disease in endemic countries.
Keywords: Japanese encephalitis; duration of immunity; genotypes; vaccine benefit; vaccine effectiveness; vaccines.