The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed four new cases of Japanese encephalitis in Taiwan and urged the public to take precautions against mosquito bites during the peak June and July transmission period for the illness.
The four, all residing in Greater Tainan, were treated and some have been discharged from hospital, the CDC said in a statement.
The two men and two women infected with the disease are aged between 40 and 74, it said.
The four had been living or working in places close to pig pens, pigeon farms, ponds, heron nests or other areas prone to mosquito infestations, the CDC said.
Japanese encephalitis is transmitted mainly by mosquitoes.
The incubation period for the disease is five to 15 days, the CDC said. In mild cases, the symptoms are headache and fever, while in severe cases the patient may suffer convulsions, it said.
Late last month, the CDC confirmed the nation’s first case of Japanese encephalitis this year.
With the peak transmission season about to begin, the health agency urged the public to take preventative measures, such as wearing long pants and long sleeves to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
However, vaccination is the most effective method of preventing the disease, the CDC said, urging parents of children who have not yet received the three-stage vaccination to consult a doctor.
There are between 20 to 40 reported cases of Japanese encephalitis each year in Taiwan, with an annual death rate of between zero and two, according to CDC data.
Most patients are adults over the age of 20, the statistics show.