Health officials in Nueva Vizcaya, in Cagayan Valley region in Luzon, are reporting eight confirmed cases of the mosquitoborne disease, Japanese encephalitis (JE), according to a Manila Times report.

Image/Philippines DOH
Image/Philippines DOH

The cases, confirmed by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa, were reported from four municipalities in the province.

According to Dr. Florejean Albano with the Provincial Integrated Health Office, the cases occurred during May to August this year.

Related: Japanese encephalitis: Philippine pediatricians release position paper

JE is the most important cause of viral encephalitis in Asia. About 68,000 clinical cases are reported annually. It usually occurs in rural or agricultural areas, often associated with rice farming. JE is endemic in The Philippines.

JE virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Culex species mosquitoes, particularly Culex tritaeniorhynchus.

Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in NYC

Most JE virus infections are mild (fever and headache) or without apparent symptoms, but approximately 1 in 250 infections results in severe disease characterized by rapid onset of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and death. The case-fatality rate can be as high as 30% among those with disease symptoms.

There is a protective vaccine against Japanese encephalitis virus.

LISTEN: Japanese encephalitis, the Philippines and the need to put the vaccine on the national schedule