Fri, Jun 12, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Year’s first encephalitis case recorded

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed the nation’s first case of Japanese encephalitis this year, which involved a 31-year-old housewife in the south who was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease on Wednesday.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said the woman had visited a local clinic on June 2 complaining of a headache and fever, before being admitted to a hospital’s intensive care unit on Thursday last week after the symptoms continued and were accompanied by dizziness and vomiting.

“As of today [Thursday], the woman still remains unconscious at the hospital. Our preliminary investigation showed that she did not travel abroad recently, but her home is within 2km of pig farms, pigeon lofts and rice paddies, which could be the source of her infection,” Chou said.

Local health authorities yesterday conducted a field inspection of the patient’s neighborhood and installed several mosquito lamps in the region to prevent the disease from spreading further.

Japanese encephalitis is transmitted mainly by mosquitoes, with the incubation period for the disease ranging from five to 15 days.

The symptoms include headache and fever in mild cases, while in severe cases the patient may suffer convulsions.

A total of 121 cases of Japanese encephalitis infection were reported in the past five years, including 18 last year and 16 in 2013.

In other developments, the CDC yesterday raised its travel advisory for Shanghai, China, to a level-2 alert, following confirmation of a new H7N9 avian influenza case in the city on Wednesday.

“Taiwanese businesspeople and tourists visiting the area are strongly urged to maintain a high level of personal hygiene, refrain from having contact with live poultry and going to traditional markets, and only consume fully-cooked poultry,” the centers said in the advisory.

Since Oct. 1 last year, China has reported 208 cases of H7N9 influenza.

Worldwide since that time, the virus has affected 661 people — four in Taiwan, 641 in China, 13 in Hong Kong, two in Canada and one in Malaysia — and killed 261 as of May 1.

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