The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) issued a Japanese encephalitis advisory nationwide last Thursday (March 23) after the Culex tritaeniorhynchus mosquito was confirmed for the first time this year in Jeju and Busan.
This year, Japanese encephalitis advisory was issued 19 days earlier than last year (April 11, 2022). This is because the recent (mid-February to mid-March) average temperature in Jeju and Busan, where Japanese encephalitis vectors were collected, was 10℃, 1.9℃ higher than last year, and the average maximum temperature was 14.9℃, an increase of 2.5℃ compared to last year. It is assumed that the cause is due to the rapid activity of mosquitoes.
Culex tritaeniorhynchus, which spreads Japanese encephalitis, is a dark brown small mosquito that lives in rice fields, animal barns, and puddles, and sucks blood mainly at night.
Generally, it starts to increase from the southern regions (Jeju, Busan, Gyeongnam, etc.) in June and is observed throughout Korea, and the density of mosquito vectors increases from July to September and is observed until the end of October.
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Most people infected with Japanese encephalitis have mild symptoms such as fever and headache, but 1 out of 250 infected people develop severe symptoms such as high fever, seizures, stiff neck, confusion, convulsions, and paralysis as the virus spreads to the brain 30% can result in death.
Since there is an effective vaccine for Japanese encephalitis, it is recommended that those eligible for national vaccination support (those born on or after January 1, 2010) be vaccinated according to the standard vaccination schedule.
In addition, vaccination is recommended for high-risk groups, such as those living in high-risk areas such as rice fields and near pig farms, where Japanese encephalitis vector mosquitoes appear, and those planning to travel to countries* with Japanese encephalitis risk who have not previously been vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis.
* Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, East Timor, Vietnam
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