Issue of September 10, 2017
Mt. Province

69th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Japanese encephaltitis cases decrease but alert levels up
by DOH release

The Department of Health has called on local executives and families to intensify mosquito prevention and control measures at home and in the community, and to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes, particularly in high-risk areas.

The call came as the country moves further into the rainy season, there is typically a rise in mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and now Japanese Encephalitis.

As of Aug. 26, the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau recorded a 44 percent decrease of laboratory confirmed Japanese Encephalitis cases all over the country as compared to the same time period last year. The heightened awareness of the people resulted in an increased health seeking behavior thus increased reporting in Pampanga as noted. Many areas in the Philippines can see more cases in the coming weeks. It is important for LGUs to step-up on reporting and notification of any suspect case. 

The DOH is firming up plans to introduce Japanese Encephalitis vaccination among children in 2018. It is important that the timing of the vaccination against the disease is factored in when administering the vaccine. Studies showed that there is no known benefit of the vaccine when given during peak season. On top of this, the hallmark of prevention like dengue should focus on identification and destruction of mosquito breeding sites and environmental cleanliness.

Japanese Encephalitis is a viral disease characterized by inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Most persons who get infected have no telltale signs and symptoms five to 15 days after being bitten by a mosquito. Signs and symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and in severe cases, neck stiffness, seizures, paralysis, and coma which may lead to death. Severe cases require prompt hospitalization. Treatment remains supportive only. Those who recover from severe illness may still show signs of neurologic complications such as paralysis, recurrent seizures, or inability to speak.

The virus is passed on to humans through a bite of a day and night-biting mosquito. These mosquitoes commonly thrive in rural and agricultural areas.

In urban areas, these mosquitoes surround houses with water storage containers.

Transmission can occur year-round, often with a peak during the rainy season when mosquito populations are higher. Japanese Encephalitis is endemic in large parts of Asia, including the Philippines.

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