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Doctors warn over peak season for Japanese encephalitis

Update: June, 10/2020 - 08:28

 

A ten-year-old kid from Hải Dương Province being treated with Japanese encephalitis at the National Pediatric Hospital in Hà Nội. — Photo benhviennhitrunguong.org.vn

HÀ NỘI — The National Paediatrics Hospital has reported it has received nearly 100 cases of children with encephalitis since the beginning of the year.

Of the figure, two suffered Japanese encephalitis and the remaining were caused by herpes simplex virus and other viruses, said Dr Nguyễn Văn Lâm, director of the hospital's Centre for Clinical Medicine of Tropical Diseases for Children.

Parents need to be vigilant and should take preventive measures against the disease as the summer comes, the peak season of Japanese encephalitis between May and July.

A mother of a 10-year-old from the northern province of Hải Dương hospitalised for the disease said that a few days ago, her child had a fever, headache and vomiting.

Thinking that the kid had flu, she self-medicated and her son got better.

However, three days later, the child had a high fever and seizures.

His family rushed him to the provincial Children Hospital for emergency treatment and then he was transferred to Hà Nội-based National Paediatrics Hospital where doctors diagnosed him with Japanese encephalitis.

In the first two days, the condition of the child was still worse and he was placed on a ventilator, said Dr Đào Hữu Nam, head of the Department of Active Treatment.

After 10 days of treatment, the child was able to leave the hospital for rehabilitation because his left side was still weak.

"In recent years, the disease has been recorded in some older children and they were in severe condition. Worse, most of them were not vaccinated against the disease," said Dr Lâm.

He said the vaccination should be done at least three times, first when the child was a year old, the second one to two weeks after the first one and the last a year after the second shot. After that, the vaccination should be done every three to five years until the child is 15 years old.

Japanese encephalitis is caused by the mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus that can spread the disease throughout the year, but most frequently in summer.

The disease is more common among children under 15. Pigs and birds are reservoirs of the virus.

High fever, headache and nausea are early symptoms of the disease.

Severe disease can result in a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and even death.

The disease primarily affects children; without timely treatment, children may be at risk of death or suffer serious neurological complications, Lâm said.

The mortality rate is high, hitting 30 per cent if not treated in time.

To prevent Japanese encephalitis, parents should take their children to hospitals for vaccinations, doctors recommend. — VNS

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