SIX cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) have been detected in the Cordillera Region from January to August this year.
Department of Health (DOH)-Cordillera epidemiologist Ursula Segundo said Baguio City and Benguet ranked the highest with two cases each.
A lone case was recorded in Abra and Mountain Province while Apayao, Ifugao, Kalinga had no reported cases of JE.
Patients include a 37-year-old teacher from Mt. Province who experienced loss of memory and consciousness, but currently recovering.
All six patients are undergoing supportive treatment with a team of doctors managing the disease, according to their signs and symptoms.
“In the Philippines, it is endemic in many regions pati na sa Cordillera. Ang first reported cases was 2015 where we had 13 cases. When we conducted the first cases, nakita natin sa Baguio, Benguet, Apayao and Kalinga, yung iba wala talaga travel history so talagang endemic.”
Segundo also said the virus is highly fatal. Segundo said JE is a viral disease characterized by inflammation of the brain, transmitted by ‘culex’, a night biter mosquito where the virus is passed on to animals like pigs and birds to humans through the bite of the mosquito.
Segundo added the mosquitoes are common in the rural areas with rice paddies, piggeries, irrigation ditches, ground pools, and at times survive in urbanized sites adding mosquito sets its peak of biting at dusk and dawn.
Signs and symptoms are a flu-like illnesses, headache, chills and muscle pain, in severe cases it may progress to inflammation of the brain and seizures, paralysis, and a comatose state leading to death.
“Sa diagnosis naman dito makikita through the clinical signs and symptoms iyong JE suspects but it’s a combination of laboratory and test. May specialized test na tinitignan iyong blood at saka iyong spinal fluid. So kailangan lahat ng mga suspects dalhin na sa hospital,” Segundo said.
Prevention includes the elimination of mosquito breeding sites, self-protection using long pants and long sleeves and sleeping inside insecticide treated mosquito nets sprayed room while fogging is only recommended during periods of outbreak.
Aside from the six cases recorded from the region, seven patients outside the Cordillera region had their diagnosis in the city.