The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced this year’s first case of Japanese encephalitis in a 31-year-old housewife who resides in southern Taiwan. Health officials say she sought medical attention at a clinic on June 2 after developing headache and fever. On June 4, when her symptoms persisted and she began to develop dizziness and vomiting, she sought medical attention at a hospital and was hospitalized in the intensive care unit.

Taiwan map/CIA
Taiwan map/CIA

After the hospital reported her to the health authority as a suspected Japanese encephalitis case, infection was confirmed in the case on June 10. As of now, the case is still unconscious and hospitalized.

According to the epidemiological investigation, the case had not recently traveled overseas, but there are pig farms, pigeon farms and rice paddy fields within 2 km of the case’s residence. Hence, it is determined that the source of infection is somewhere around the case’s residence. Currently, none of the family members residing in the same household has experienced any symptoms.

According to Taiwan CDC’s surveillance data, transmission of Japanese encephalitis in Taiwan occurs annually between May and October and it usually peaks between June and July. Thus far this year, as of June 10, one Japanese encephalitis case has been confirmed in Taiwan. During 2010 and 2014, the total numbers of confirmed Japanese encephalitis cases respectively are 33, 22, 32, 16 and 18.

Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable encephalitis in Asia and the western Pacific. It is a viral disease transmitted by Culicine mosquitoes.

Most human infections are asymptomatic or result in only mild symptoms. However, a small percentage ofinfected persons develop inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), with symptoms including sudden onset of headache, high fever, disorientation, coma, tremors and convulsions.

About 1 in 4 cases are fatal. There is no specific treatment for JE. Patient management focuses on supportive care and management of complications. Steps to prevent JE include using personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites and vaccination. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page