A population based case-control study to evaluate Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccine efficacy was carried out in Gusi County, Henan Province, China from June to September in 1991. This study showed that the JE vaccine had a strong protective effect. The estimate of the vaccine efficacy was 78% (95% CI = 16-94%). An unimmunized child was at 4.54 times greater risk of developing JE than were fully immunized children during the study period. The present study may have underestimated the vaccine efficacy due to evaluation based on routine vaccination which might have been affected by vaccination management and the local cold chain system.