GAITHERSBURG, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Results of a new survey commissioned by Valneva USA, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of global vaccine biotech company Valneva SE, revealed low awareness of endemic diseases among people traveling to international destinations. Despite an uptick in travel to Asian-Pacific countries1, many do not seek preventative healthcare from a qualified travel health specialist prior to their travel to guard against infection or illness.
Findings from the survey of 776 U.S. adults who visited Asia for 10 or more days found that only 18 percent visited a travel health specialist to discuss health-related preparations for travel. Results also revealed that awareness and preventative measures for Japanese encephalitis (JE) – a rare but serious disease and the most common form of vaccine-preventable encephalitis and viral-induced neurologic disability in Asia – was extremely low: only 33 percent of respondents were aware of the disease, and just 16 percent of travelers considered to be high-risk received a preventative vaccine.
“Most Americans are vaccinated for diseases common to our country as children, but aren’t always protected when traveling abroad,” said Dr. Scott Morcott, family physician and Medical Director of Passport Health Chicago. “I encourage anyone planning international travel, especially those who may be abroad for extended periods of time such as students, business people, adventure travelers and volunteers, to visit a travel health practitioner to learn about preventative measures for travel-related diseases.”
According to the World Health Organization, JE is endemic to 24 countries across Asia and parts of the western Pacific. While most people infected with JE virus – which is transmitted by mosquitoes – are asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms2, it can be fatal or cause long-term serious complications. There is no specific treatment for JE, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that, in addition to personal protective measures such as use of insect repellant and protective bed netting, travelers who spend 30 days or more in a JE-endemic region be vaccinated prior to arrival. In addition, shorter-term travelers should consider vaccination if their activities or location put them at risk for a mosquito bite.
Other key findings from the survey include:
Personal protective measures against mosquito bites were not routinely
used or available
- 53 percent reported that hotels or accommodations did not provide bed nets to guard against mosquitoes
- 42 percent reported that they did not use an insect repellent while in Asia
The majority of travelers reported visiting areas or participating in
activities that increased their risk for the JE virus
- 72 percent of respondents visited at least one area of increased risk for JE, such as suburban or rural areas, beach resorts outside major cities, or wilderness areas
- 66 percent participated in at least one of the following outdoor activities while traveling, which could increase the risk of mosquito bites: hiking/trekking, camping, biking, fishing or hunting, and other outdoor activities
- Only 15 percent of those surveyed fell into the “Not Recommended” category for vaccination against JE under current CDC guidelines
Travel health practitioners provide destination-specific care to international travelers. A travel health physician or nurse can advise patients on diseases endemic to countries around the globe and the best methods to protect themselves from exposure. These recommendations might include how to avoid contaminated food or water, guarding against vector-borne disease, and when vaccination is recommended.
About the Survey
The survey of 776 U.S. adults (18+) from across the United States was conducted in May-June 2018 to better understand the awareness and knowledge of health risks related to international travel. Of those queried, 514 participants had traveled to Asia for 10-29 days within the past 24 months, and 262 participants had traveled for 30 or more days.
Valneva is the manufacturer of IXIARO®, a vaccine indicated for the prevention of disease caused by JE virus, approved for use in individuals 2 months of age and older.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of IXIARO, any other JE vaccine, or any component of IXIARO, including protamine sulfate ─ a compound known to cause hypersensitivity reactions in some individuals ─ is a contraindication to administration of IXIARO. Individuals with a history of severe allergic reaction to another JE vaccine may be referred to an allergist for evaluation if immunization with IXIARO is considered.
Vaccination with IXIARO may not protect all individuals. Individuals with a weakened immune system may have a diminished immune response to IXIARO. Fainting may occur when receiving any injection, including IXIARO. Tell your healthcare practitioner if you have a history of fainting from injections.
The most common (>10%) adverse reactions were: fever, irritability, diarrhea, and injection site redness in infants 2 months to <1 year of age; fever in children 1 to <12 years of age; pain and tenderness in adolescents 12 to <18 years of age; and, headache, muscle pain, and injection site pain and tenderness in adults.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Visit www.vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967. You should ask your healthcare practitioner for medical advice about adverse events.
For more information, please see the physician’s Prescribing Information and ask your healthcare practitioner about the risk and benefits of IXIARO.
About Japanese Encephalitis
JE is a deadly infectious disease that is endemic to 24 countries across Asia, Southeast Asia, and the western Pacific. About 68,000 cases of JE are estimated to occur each year, although the actual number of cases is likely much higher due to underreporting in rural areas. JE is fatal in up to 30 percent of those who show symptoms, and up to half of survivors continue to have neurologic, cognitive, and psychiatric impairment. In 2005, JE killed more than 1,200 children in only one month during an epidemic outbreak in Uttar Pradesh, India, and Nepal.
According to the CDC3, the risk of JE is low for most travelers to Asia but can vary based on various factors, such as where a person spends time, when and for how long they are traveling and their activities. Travelers staying one month or longer (for example, military members and their families, study abroad students, or employees with extended work assignments) in parts of Asia where the JE virus is found are recommended for vaccination. Vaccination should be considered for travelers who have an increased risk of being exposed to mosquitoes carrying JE virus if they spend substantial time outdoors or in rural areas, especially at night; participate in extensive active outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, biking, fishing, or hunting, or sleep in accommodations without mosquito nets; or whose plans are uncertain or may change. JE vaccine is not recommended for short-term travel restricted to urban areas or outside of the JE virus transmission season.
About VALNEVA USA, Inc.
Valneva USA, Inc. is a subsidiary of Valneva SE, a fully integrated, commercial stage biotech company focused on developing innovative life-saving vaccines.
Valneva USA is focused on the marketing and distribution of Valneva’s vaccines, including IXIARO®, in the United States. For more information, visit https://www.valneva.us/en/ or follow Valneva on Twitter @ValnevaUSA or on Facebook.
2 World Health Organization. Japanese encephalitis Fact sheet no.386. December 2015. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs386/en. March 27, 2018.
3 Prevention, C. (2018). Japanese Encephalitis - Chapter 3 - 2018 Yellow Book | Travelers' Health | CDC. [online] wwwnc.cdc.gov. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/japanese-encephalitis [Accessed 28 Jun. 2018].