12 cases of encephalitis detected
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
A TOTAL of 12 patients with symptoms of Japanese encephalitis (JE) infection have been reported in the country, said the Ministry of Health (MoH) in a statement yesterday.
JE infection has never been previously detected or reported in the country until October this year.
Nine of the cases of JE infection were reported in Belait, two in Tutong and one in Brunei-Muara.
The statement said that three patients from Belait have been confirmed, with laboratory tests, to be infected by the JE virus.
Six patients have recovered while two patients with pre-existing medical conditions are currently receiving intensive care in hospital in a stable condition.
The Ministry have identified Belait as the “hotspot” for infection.
As a preventive measure the Ministry is working with the Belait District Office, Kuala Belait and Seria Municipal Department, the Department of Agriculture and Agri-foods and the the community in the affected areas.
JE is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, similar to dengue, malaria, chikungunya and filariasis.
The virus is caused by the JE virus which lives in certain animals such as pigs, horses and wild birds.
When the mosquito bites the affected animal, the virus will pass on in the mosquito. Humans are then infected through mosquito bites.
Those infected with JE may show symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. The infection may also cause mental abnormalities, neurological symptoms, weakness and motor disturbances.
Convulsions may also occur, especially among children.
The statement said that mosquitoes often breed on still water surfaces such as dirty drains, swamps and muddy potholes.
It added that the transmitting mosquitoes can also be found between banana leaves.
Mosquitoes breed during the rainy season and tend to bite between dusk and midnight.
The Ministry urged the public to destroy mosquito breeding sites, spending 10-30 minutes to inspect residential and commercial buildings to ensure they are clear of mosquito breeding sites.
They also urged the public to clean drains and waterways, level ground surfaces which may pool with water, fill potholes with soil or sand.
The statement added the public should wear long-sleeved clothing and avoid wearing dark-coloured clothing which will attract mosquitoes.
The public are also encouraged to use insecticide aerosols, mosquito coils and insect repellants during outdoor activities.
The Ministry said that JE infection in Brunei Darussalam is under control and they will continue to monitor the situation and measures.
The Ministry will continue to inform the public of any developments. For further enquiries regarding the Japanese encephalitis infection the public can contact the MoH Healthline at 145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Brunei Times