NewsDesk @bactiman63

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency has confirmed the first suspected case of Japanese encephalitis (presumptive diagnosis) of the year.

Image/Robert Herriman

A nationwide alert was issued on July 27 by the Korea CDC.

The patient is a man in his 60s living in Gangwon-do, who was hospitalized for symptoms such as fever and unconsciousness, and was confirmed to have no history of Japanese encephalitis vaccination. 

Through tests by the Gangwon-do Health and Environment Research Institute and the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the patient was diagnosed as a presumptive patient on September 5 as specific antibodies for Japanese encephalitis were detected in the cerebrospinal fluid of the acute stage, and confirmed diagnosis will be conducted later through convalescent serum.

Japanese encephalitis has an incubation period of 5 to 15 days, and in most cases there are no symptoms or 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. 30% may die. In particular, in the case of encephalitis, 30-50% of patients may suffer from various neurological complications depending on the damaged area. 

Since there is an effective vaccine for Japanese encephalitis, it is recommended that those eligible for national vaccination support (children born after January 1, 2010) be vaccinated according to the standard vaccination schedule.