Officials issue alert for Japanese encephalitis

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Officials issue alert for Japanese encephalitis

Health authorities issued a virus alert yesterday after more than 500 mosquitoes– over half of those tested earlier last month in Busan– were found to be carrying Japanese encephalitis.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), which carried out the tests from July 16 to 18, warned the public to exercise caution.

Early symptoms in those who develop a severe infection can include headaches, high fever and vomiting. In serious cases, it can lead into death. The death rate for Japanese encephalitis can be anywhere between 5 percent and 30 percent.

The disease control agency also stressed that younger children are especially susceptible to the virus and urged parents to have their children vaccinated.

The KCDC also recommended people use mosquito nets and stay indoors.

While encephalitis outbreaks are common in the summer monsoon season, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is considered as a more virulent strain.

The disease control center explained that the recent weather, coupled with high temperatures and humidity,was conducive for the virus to spread.

“Now is the initial period where a lot of JE-carrying mosquitoes appear,” said an official with the center. “But even after summer, it tends to last through October.

“I think people should be careful during this summer season, because many will be outdoors, go camping or go to the beach.”

The official further advised people to apply an ice pack or watery ammonia to the site when bitten.

Municipal governments also issued statements encouraging people, especially those with children, to get vaccinated.

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