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Friday, 2nd November 2012
In General Japan News,

No tie found to deaths - Encephalitis vaccine is safe, says ministry

There is no need to halt the administration of the vaccine for Japanese encephalitis, even though two children who received the jabs died this year.

This was according to a health ministry panel that examined the circumstances of the two deaths and delivered its decision on Wednesday (October 31st), stated The Japan Times.

Since approval in 2009, the newly developed vaccine has had two allegedly related deaths.

In October, a ten-year-old boy from Gifu Prefecture passed away immediately following the injection of the vaccine and a nine-year-old child died in July a week after receiving the shot of vaccine.

Japanese encephalitis is spread by mosquitoes and causes severe swelling in segments of the brain and spinal cord, bringing on symptoms such as impaired consciousness and major headaches.

The health ministry stated that the ten-year-old boy was on three different medications for the disease and two of them are known to pose a death risk when combined.

Therefore the panel concluded that the boy's death was probably caused by other factors aside from the vaccine and will continue its enquiry into the incident.

A week prior to the July death, the child suffered seizures and a fever two days after receiving the vaccination.

Officials have stated that there isn't enough evidence to link the vaccination and the fatality. They have confirmed the cause of death to be a severe case of encephalitis.

During 2002 to 2011, 57 people contracted the illness with the majority being in western Japan. The ministry has documented 11 incidents of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM, since 2009 when the newly developed vaccination was launched.

"There is some data showing an increase in the number of Japanese encephalitis patients in some parts of Asia, so if you plan to visit there, it's better to get a shot before leaving," said panel member and paediatrician at Fukuoka-West Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Chiaki Miyazaki, to the news provider.

Posted by Susan Ballion