Taiwanese health officials this year’s first case of Japanese encephalitis confirmed in Pingtung County. The case is a 53-year-old female housewife.

Taiwan map/CIA
Taiwan map/CIA

According to the epidemiological investigation, the case had not recently traveled overseas, had not been vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis, and spent most of her time at home. Within approximately 2 km distance of the case’s residence, there is pigeon and poultry farming.

Currently, none of the family members residing in the same household has experienced any symptoms.

The Taiwan CDC has reported four Japanese encephalitis cases through Jun 19 this year (2 cases in Kaohsiung City, 1 case in Tainan City, and 1 case in Pingtung County).

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.

The primary vector of Japanese encephalitis is a species of mosquito, Culex tritaeniorhynchus, which breeds in rice paddy fields, ponds, and irrigation canals.

To prevent infection, avoid visiting vector-breeding sites such as pigpens at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

As vaccination is the most effective way to prevent Japanese encephalitis, people who live near or work in close proximity to pig farms or rice paddy fields that increase their risk of Japanese encephalitis infection are recommended to visit one of the hospitals under the Ministry of Health and Welfare for self-paid vaccination.

In addition, Taiwan CDC also urges parents and caretakers of age-appropriate children who have not received the vaccine to get vaccinated as soon as possible at their local health center or contracted healthcare facilities to prevent infection and severe complications.

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