This year, Japanese Encephalitis has claimed the lives of 9 people here in the Philippines. Here are 5 things that you need to know about it.
1. Symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis appear after 5-15 days
These symptoms include headache, vomiting, confusion, and difficulty moving.
Later symptoms include swelling around the brain which can be very deadly. About 1 in every 250 infections can potentially result in death. This means that Japanese Encephalitis is a disease that shouldn't be ignored.
2. Humans can get infected from mosquito bites, and the virus can be transmitted from pigs, mosquitoes, and water birds
Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) is usually transmitted around the warm season in the tropics. However, it intensifies during the rainy season in rice-cultivating regions.
Humans can get it from mosquito bites, so it's important to clear your surroundings from any places where mosquitos can lay their eggs.
3. People who live in rural areas, or places with a lot of mosquitos are at risk
As mosquitoes can get the virus from infected birds or pigs, people who live in rural areas with migratory birds of pig farms are at risk.
However, an abundance of mosquitos can also pose a threat, as humans can only get infected through mosquito bites.
4. There is no antiviral treatment for JEV, but there is a vaccine to prevent it
Sadly, when a person is infected with JEV, there's no possible treatment to deal with the infection. The best thing that doctors can do would be to alleviate the symptoms and stabilize the patient.
However, there is a vaccine that can prevent infection from JEV, and using insect repellents, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and keeping your surroundings clean and free from mosquitoes are all good ways to help prevent infection.
5. Japanese Encephalitis is a serious disease
If you or a loved one has shown symptoms of JEV, it's important to visit your doctor as soon as possible for treatment. The earlier it can be detected, the better it can be treated.