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    Public advised to take precautions against mosquito bites and receive timely vaccination against Japanese encephalitis to ward off infection
    Publication Date:2017-08-02 Data Sources:Centers for Disease Control, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
    (Press Releases)

    On July 24, 2017, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced this year’s first case of Japanese encephalitis confirmed in Hsinchu City. As vaccination is the most effective way to prevent Japanese encephalitis, people who live near or work in close proximity to pig farms or rice paddy fields that increase their risk of Japanese encephalitis infection are recommended to visit one of the hospitals under the Ministry of Health and Welfare for self-paid vaccination. In addition, Taiwan CDC also urges parents and caretakers of age-appropriate children who have not received the vaccine to get vaccinated as soon as possible at their local health center or contracted healthcare facilities to prevent infection and severe complications.


    According to the epidemiological investigation, the case is a 53-year-old male who had not been vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis and had not traveled recently domestically or internationally. On July 4, he sought medical attention at a clinic after developing fever and headache. On July 7, he was rushed to the hospital by his family and was hospitalized when his symptoms persisted and started to develop lethargy and unconsciousness. On July 19, infection with Japanese encephalitis was confirmed in the case after the hospital reported the case to the health authority. As of now, the case is still hospitalized for treatment and none of the contacts has experienced symptoms. To prevent the further spread of the disease, the local health authority has set up mosquito lamps around the residence of the confirmed case as an attempt to capture vector mosquitoes and reinforced health education among residents who live near the confirmed case as well as urged routine vaccination of age-appropriate children and at-risk individuals.


    Thus far this year, as of July 24, 2017, 19 Japanese encephalitis cases have been confirmed in Taiwan, including 3 cases in Kaohsiung City, 3 cases in Changhua County, 2 cases in Pingtung County, 2 cases in Taoyuan City, 2 cases in Chiayi County, 2 cases in Tainan City, 2 cases in New Taipei City, 1 case in Nantou County, 1 case in Hualien County, and 1 case in Hsinchu City. During the same period in the recent 5 years, the number of Japanese encephalitis cases confirmed varies between 13 and 28. All cities and counties have reported sporadic cases and people of all age are at risk of contracting the disease. The majority of the confirmed cases are adults aged 40 and above.

    Each year, the Japanese encephalitis season spans from June to July. The primary vector of Japanese encephalitis is a species of mosquito, Culex tritaeniorhynchus, which breeds in rice paddy fields, ponds, and irrigation canals. To prevent infection, avoid visiting vector-breeding sites such as pigpens at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. When needing to visit mosquito-prone places, people are advised to wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and apply officially approved mosquito repellent to exposed body parts to prevent mosquito bites and lower the risk of contracting Japanese encephalitis. For more information, please visit the Taiwan CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Care Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922). 

    • Last modified at 2017-07-24
    • Data from Division of Planning and Coordination