A THOMASIAN pathologist has urged the Department of Health (DOH) to focus on eradicating breeding grounds of mosquitoes to counter Japanese Encephalitis (JE) cases.
“The government should better focus on vector control, and measures like community education to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds,” Assoc. Prof. Rowen Yolo told the Varsitarian.
This was Yolo’s response to DOH plans to add vaccines for JE to its free immunization program for 2018.
“The rise in JE cases in the country is alarming but is not enough reason to warrant a national immunization program,” Yolo said.
JE is a deadly viral disease that causes the inflammation of the brain. Caused by Culex tritaeniorhynchus mosquitoes, it is the main cause of viral encephalitis in many Asian countries, with nearly 68,000 clinical cases every year.
Symptoms of JE occur five to 15 days after a mosquito bite, and include fever, headache, vomiting and difficulty in moving. Severe cases involve seizures, paralysis and comatose, which may lead to death.
There is no cure for JE.
In the Philippines, nine deaths have been recorded so far this year — seven from Central Luzon, one from the Ilocos Region and one from Calabarzon.
As of August 2017, 133 cases have been recorded, resulting in demand for the JE vaccine. The vaccine costs about P3,500 to P5,000.
Yolo stressed that preventing the spread of the disease would be cost-efficient.
“The number of JE cases in the Philippines is low, in relation to the national population,” he said.