TAIPEI (The China Post) — The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control announced on June 4 two new cases of Japanese Encephalitis in Taiwan. Both patients underwent serious fevers, unconsciousness, and muscle fatigue. Accordingly, Dr. Huang Wan-Ting from the Centers for Disease Control stressed that infants more than 15 months old should receive vaccines at local health centers or government-sponsored clinics. National research has also shown that adults in their 40s and 50s are also relatively more vulnerable to the disease.
Dr. Huang stated that both patients are in their 50s. The first patient was a male from Chiayi City and the latter was a female from Kaohsiung City. They did not travel overseas recently and began to show alarming symptoms on May 21 and 23, respectively. Upon seeking medical treatment, it was confirmed that both contracted Japanese Encephalitis; they are currently under treatment in ICUs.
In regard to the case from Chiayi, according to Dr. Huang, there were pigsties, rice fields, and/or farms containing livestock within a three-kilometer radius from both his residences in the Eastern District of Taipei and the Zhongpu Township in Chiayi. For the case from Kaohsiung, there was no infrastructure of such near her residence. Relevant health personnel conducted thorough environmental investigations, eradicated possible sources that could breed mosquitoes, and installed mosquito lamps in nearby areas.
The Centers for Disease Control said that there are four confirmed cases (three in Kaohsiung and one in Chiayi) up until this year. In recent years, numerous cases have emerged across Taiwan. From 2015 to 2018, the number of confirmed cases each year were one, two, three, and 11 respectively with a majority being older than 40.
Dr. Huang said that symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis develop subtly. Very few may experience headaches, fevers, Aseptic Meningitis, or for more serious cases, shifts in consciousness, loss of cognitive functions, weakening of muscle power, neurological damage, hemiparesis, and more. In worst case scenarios, one may enter into a coma or die.