The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Korean CDC) issued a Japanese encephalitis alert nationwide on July 27, 2023 after more than 50% of the collected mosquitoes were confirmed to be small red house mosquitoes (Japanese encephalitis carriers) in Busan, and requested compliance with prevention rules and participation in vaccination to prevent Japanese encephalitis.
This year’s warning issuance date is about a week later than last year’s warning issuance date (2022.7.23.), which is presumed to be due to the large number of rainy days (18th in 2023, 8th in 2022) in Busan in July.
‘Red house mosquito’, 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. As the density of mosquito vectors increases, it occurs throughout Korea and is observed until the end of October.
Japanese encephalitis infects about 20 people annually between September and October, and about 87% of the people in their 50s or older are affected. In most cases, mild symptoms such as fever and headache appear, but in rare cases, when it progresses to encephalitis, serious symptoms such as high fever, seizures, neck stiffness, confusion, convulsions, and paralysis appear, and 20 to 30% of these symptoms can lead to death. In particular, in the case of encephalitis, 30 to 50% of patients may suffer from various neurological complications depending on the damaged area.
In addition, since there is an effective vaccine for Japanese encephalitis, it is recommended that national vaccination support recipients (children born on or after January 1, 2010) be vaccinated according to the standard vaccination schedule as follows:
Japanese Encephalitis Pediatric Inoculation Standards
5 doses in total
‧ 1st to 2nd ( 12 to 23 months after birth , 1 month apart )
‧ 3rd (24 – 35 months , 11 months after the 2nd vaccination ) , 4th ( 6 years old ) , 5th ( 12 years old )
live attenuated vaccine
2 doses in total
‧ 1st to 2nd ( 12 to 35 months after birth , 12- month interval )
Vaccination is also recommended for those who live in high-risk areas, such as rice fields and near pig farms, where Japanese encephalitis vector mosquitoes appear, and Japanese encephalitis-risk countries*, especially those who plan to stay in rural areas for more than 30 days.
* 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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