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Japanese encephalitis peaks early in Taiwan: CDC

2018/06/12 19:30:54

Taipei, June 12 (CNA) Japanese encephalitis has reached its peak in Taiwan this year, about a month earlier than usual, with a total of 12 cases confirmed so far, according to a statement issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Tuesday.

Last week, seven cases of Japanese encephalitis were reported, with the patients ranging in age from 17 to 70 years, the CDC said in the statement.

Three of the seven patients are still in intensive care, two are in stable condition and two have been discharged from hospital, the CDC said.

It said three of the new cases were recorded in Kaohsiung, and one each in Taichung, Changhua, Chiayi and Tainan.

With the confirmation of the seven recent cases, the total number for the year has risen to 12, which signals a peak due to unusually high temperatures in May and June this year, said CDC section chief Chen Chiu-mei (陳秋美).

In Taiwan, Japanese encephalitis is usually prevalent from May to October and peaks between June and July, according to the CDC.

Its data showed that over the past five years, the number of Japanese encephalitis cases in Taiwan were 16 in 2013, 18 in 2014, 30 in 2015, 23 in 2016 and 25 in 2017.

The disease is transmitted mainly by the Culex tritaeniorhynchus mosquito, which breeds in rice fields, ponds and irrigation canals, according to the CDC.

The CDC has advised that people avoid visiting such places and animal farms, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, and to make sure their young children are vaccinated against the disease.

Japanese encephalitis can cause serious psychological and neurological symptoms and has a mortality rate of 20-30 percent, according to the CDC.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Romulo Huang)
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