The Bohol Provincial Health Office (PHO) has warned against diseases that thrive in unsanitary conditions such as dengue and Japanese encephalitis (JE).
PHO chief Dr. Reymoses Cabagnot on Wednesday urged the public to thoroughly clean houses and their surroundings as reports on cases of Japanese encephalitis in the Philippines surfaced.
Based on a Department of Health report, nine people in 2017 have succumbed to JE which, like dengue, is a mosquito-borne disease.
One of the JE deaths was recorded in a remote town in Cebu.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), JE is primarily caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a flavivirus related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses.
“JEV is the main cause of viral encephalitis in many countries of Asia with an estimated 68,000 clinical cases every year,” the WHO said.
In the same report, the WHO noted that most JEV infections manifest through mild fever and headache, but in certain cases, these could also have no apparent symptoms.
“Severe disease is characterized by rapid onset of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and ultimately death,” the WHO said. “The case-fatality rate can be as high as 30% among those with disease symptoms.”
Citing researches of experts on the disease, Cabagnot said that mosquitoes carrying the JEV thrive in muddy waters, particularly in rice fields and other agricultural areas.
According to the WHO, there is no cure for the disease.
Treatment is focused on relieving severe clinical signs and supporting the patient to overcome the infection, like with dengue.
Although there is already a dengue vaccine, its distribution has been halted due to concerns on side effects. (Allen Doydora)