With additional cases of the mosquito borne viral disease, Japanese encephalitis (JE) reported, Taiwan health officials are urging the public to take precautions against mosquito bites and ensure children receive the vaccine timely in order to ward off infection. In particular, people who live near or work in close proximity to pig farms or rice paddy fields, which increases the risk of contracting the virus.

Japanese encephalitis geography/CDC
Japanese encephalitis geography/CDC

Two additional cases reported from Taoyuan City brings the cumulative total to 21 JE cases, primarily in Southern Taiwan.

According to Taiwan CDC’s surveillance data, transmission of Japanese encephalitis in Taiwan usually peaks between June and July. During 2010 and 2015, the majority of the cases are reported in central and southern Taiwan and most of them are male (62.7%). People of all ages can become infected. People aged between 30 and 59 are at increased risk for infection.

The vector mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk. Pigs act as the amplifying host for Japanese encephalitis. To prevent infection, avoid visiting vector-breeding sites such as pigpens at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

LISTEN:  Dr Anna Lena Lopez, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and research associate professor at the University of the Philippines in Manila discusses JE and the need for the vaccine

Parents are reminded to make sure their children receive the vaccine on a timely basis. In addition, free Japanese encephalitis vaccination is being offered to adults who reside and work near at-risk areas such as pig farms and rice paddy fields

Related: 13 Diseases You Can Get From Mosquitoes