Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - Page 3 News List

CDC confirms year’s second instance of encephalitis virus

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

A 46-year-old man has been diagnosed with Japanese encephalitis, marking this year’s second confirmed case of the viral disease, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

The Greater Tainan resident first sought medical attention on June 2 after a fever. He was sent home to rest, but hospitalized the next day as his fever continued and he experienced drowsiness and blackouts, the centers said.

“The hospital immediately reported the case to the CDC on June 4,” it said, adding that the man’s symptoms have abated after days of treatment and that the people living with him have not developed any symptoms.

The man has no recent travel history. However, there are hog farms and rice paddies within 1km of his home, which prompted the local health department to install insect traps in the neighborhood to capture mosquitoes for testing, the centers said.

The case comes just two days after the year’s first case was confirmed on Tuesday in Greater Taichung. That case involved a 52-year-old man who developed a high fever, headache and general weakness on June 8.

According to CDC disease surveillance data, the peak season for the mosquito-borne disease is between now and next month. Eleven of the 16 cases of Japanese encephalitis reported last year occurred in June.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) urged people living near livestock or rice paddies to step up mosquito-prevention measures.

“Both of the people confirmed to have been infected live close to hog farms. Pigs are the major amplifying hosts for Japanese encephalitis, and mosquitoes will become infected after they feed on such animals,” Chuang said.

Chuang said receiving a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis is the most effective way to prevent infection, urging that children over 15 months and adults living in high-risk neighborhoods be vaccinated as soon as possible.

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