MANILA – Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial said Tuesday they are planning to include Japanese encephalitis in their immunization program for next year.
In an interview, Ubial noted though that there has been no surge in the incidence of Japanese encephalitis this year, compared to last year.
“The cases reported this year are 72 percent lower than last year’s, wherein there were 12 deaths recorded,” she said.
Based on the Department of Health’s (DOH) records, 133 cases of Japanese encephalitis were reported from Jan. 1 to Aug. 26 this year, and 53 of them were in Central Luzon. Of the 133 cases, nine patients died – four in Pampanga, two in Zambales, and one each in Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and Laguna.
Last year, some 193 people caught the disease during the same period, with 12 deaths reported.
The Japanese encephalitis virus, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes, can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), its symptoms include high fever, headache, sensitivity to light, stiff neck and back, vomiting, confusion and, in severe cases, seizures, paralysis and coma.
The incidence of the disease in the country usually peaks in the months of July and August.