Less than three months after winning FDA approval, a U.S. immunization panel has put the Japanese encephalitis vaccine Ixiaro on a list of jabs recommended for American travelers.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices-ACIP-is recommending the vaccine to U.S. travelers to Asia. Japanese encephalitis hits up to 50,000 people a year in Asia, killing about 15,000. It's most common in rural areas, which is drawing a growing number of U.S. visitors. In most cases the symptoms are mild, but in severe instances the patient experiences high temperatures, brain damage and coma leading to death as the virus attacks the membrane around the brain.
The recommendation is a boost for Intercell, which developed the new vaccine, as well as Novartis, which holds the marketing rights.
"The consequences of contracting this disease can be devastating due to the high morbidity and mortality associated with the disease, making Ixiaro a crucial preventive tool for those spending time in endemic areas," said Intercell CEO Gerd Zettlmeissl. "It is gratifying that the ACIP committee of the CDC has chosen to broaden its recommendations and to recognize the benefits of Ixiaro."
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