CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded a total of 149 cases of the deadly Japanese encephalitis with at least 22 cases in noted Pampanga, the highest in the region during the first quarter of 2017.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease spread by blood-sucking insects, particularly mosquitoes. The mosquitoes of the Culex species are known to be the viral carriers.
The DOH said it affects the nervous system, causes severe complications and even death. The disease can infect not only humans but domestic animals, birds, bats, snakes and frogs as well.
Among the symptoms of Japanese encephalitis, according to the DOH, are flu-like illnesses, fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. The symptoms usually appear six to eight days after the mosquito bite.
If untreated, patients could suffer brain damage or paralysis as it also affects the spinal cord. In 30 percent of the cases, death could occur. Young children are more vulnerable due to their weak immune system.
While there is no cure, the virus could be prevented through vaccination.
A separate report from the World Health Organization (WHO) said that Japanese encephalitis is an illness that is endemic in the Philippines and is fatal in almost three out of ten serious cases.
The WHO report also said that nearly all survivors of this mosquito-borne disease experience permanent damage, including physical disabilities, cognitive and language problems, learning disabilities and behavioral problems.