KUCHING: Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is endemic in Sarawak, but the situation is being closely monitored by the authorities, according to Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
The Health Ministry and the Sarawak Health Department were keeping a close watch, he added that for the period between January and June 23, there were a total of five cases reported in the state.
There was no JE epidemic and the cases reported were sporadic, said Dr Noor Hashim in a statement today. There was one case each reported in the Samarahan, Lawas, Julau, Miri and Sri Aman divisions.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the JE virus is transmitted to both humans and animals through the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. A person suffering from the disease develops inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).
Dr Noor Hisham said that a JE immunisation programme was introduced in 2002 in Sarawak because of the high incidence of such cases in the state.
There were 55 cases in 1999 with the rate of incidence at 2.61 per 100,000 people. He said two years after its implementation in 2004, the number of JE cases had reduced to 22 and it was down to 10 cases in 2017.
“The health ministry recommends that parents ensure that their children get JE immunisation injections at nine months and 21 months of age, as set out in the immunisation schedule,” he said.
The vaccine against JE is the single most effective preventive measure against the disease, according to the WHO.
Dr Noor Hisham advised the local community to seek immediate treatment if anyone experienced headache, nausea, vomiting, mental state changes, neurological symptoms, weakness and disruption of movement.
In addition, he said self-protection practices such as the use of repellents and wearing bright clothes will keep mosquitoes at bay, thus reducing the possibility of mosquito bites. — Bernama
Reproduced By : The Sun Daily
Date : 2 July 2018