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Be aware in PHL due to Japanese encephalitis

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NINE people, including seven in Central Luzon, have already died this year due to the mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis (JE), the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday. Of the nine deaths reported from January 1 to August 26, the health authorities said seven were reported in Central Luzon, including four in Pampanga, two in Zambales, and one in Nueva Ecija. The other two deaths were recorded in Pangasinan and Laguna. Of the 133 JE cases recorded this year, 53 are in Central Luzon. Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said there is nothing unusual with the number of JE cases. “There is no surge. The cases reported this year is lower than last year,” said Ubial in an interview. Ubial however stressed the lower number of cases this year will not stop them from including the JE in the DOH’s Expanded Program on Immunization by 2018. Japanese encephalitis is a disease spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms of the JE, which usually take five to 15 days to develop, include fever, headache, vomiting, confusion, and difficulty in moving. JE is also known to cause swelling around the brain and, subsequently, result to the patient going on coma, thereby making it a serious disease that may cause death.

22 cases of Japanese encephalitis recorded in Pampanga

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded a total of 149 cases of the deadly Japanese encephalitis with at least 22 cases in noted Pampanga, the highest in the region during the first quarter of 2017. Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease spread by blood-sucking insects, particularly mosquitoes. The mosquitoes of the Culex species are known to be the viral carriers. The DOH said it affects the nervous system, causes severe complications and even death. The disease can infect not only humans but domestic animals, birds, bats, snakes and frogs as well. Among the symptoms of Japanese encephalitis, according to the DOH, are flu-like illnesses, fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. The symptoms usually appear six to eight days after the mosquito bite. If untreated, patients could suffer brain damage or paralysis as it also affects the spinal cord. In 30 percent of the cases, death could occur. Young children are more vulnerable due to their weak immune system. While there is no cure, the virus could be prevented through vaccination. A separate report from the World Health Organization (WHO) said that Japanese encephalitis is an illness that is endemic in the Philippines and is fatal in almost three out of ten serious cases. The WHO report also said that nearly all survivors of this mosquito-borne disease experience permanent damage, including physical disabilities, cognitive and language problems, learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

DOH: Kids didn’t die of dengue, Japanese encephalitis

SAN PEDRO CITY—The Department of Health (DOH) ruled out the mosquito-borne illnesses dengue and Japanese encephalitis behind the deaths of two schoolchildren from Los Baños town in Laguna province. “It’s most likely coincidental. The causes of their deaths were also different,” said Bobbie Roca, coordinator of the DOH Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon). A 9-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy died on June 18 and 22, respectively, after suffering from fever and abdominal pains. Both went to the same school in Los Baños. According to the municipal health office, both children tested negative for Japanese encephalitis and dengue, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Roca said they went around the hospitals in Los Baños and found no records that might suggest Japanese encephalitis cases. —MARICAR CINCO

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:12 AM July 01, 2017

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