Dr. Lei Chen, Melissa Peek, Denise Stokich, MPH, and Randal Todd, DrPH, were recognized for identifying Japanese encephalitis as the cause of death of a healthy 11-year-old child who had traveled outside the United States and died nine days after returning to Nevada.
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable encephalitis in Asia and the western Pacific. JE is usually found in mosquitoes and the animals they feed on, mainly pigs and wading birds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), JE is an uncommon but often serious disease in travelers to JE-endemic countries. This JE case represented the fifth case identified in the United States since 1992.
JE vaccine should be considered for travelers who might be at greater risk based on the season, location, and duration of their visit and their planned activities. More information about Japanese encephalitis can be found online at www.cdc.gov.
The complete article about the JE case in Washoe County in JAMA can be accessed at http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/305/24/2516.full.