Three more Japanese Encephalitis cases in Penang, says state health chief

Penanti assemblyman Norlela Ariffin is pictured at Dewan Sri Pinang, George Town November 6, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penanti assemblyman Norlela Ariffin is pictured at Dewan Sri Pinang, George Town November 6, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, July 8 — Three more cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) were detected today in Penang, bringing to six the total number of cases so far.

State Agriculture, Agro-based, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said two new cases were detected in Sungai Bakap, Seberang Perai Selatan (SPS) and one case in Balik Pulau, Barat Daya district.

“I was informed by the Penang Health Department that the three cases have been confirmed positive and the victims are children but all of them are reported to be in stable condition,” she told Bernama when contacted.

Dr Norlela, however, declined to reveal the age and sex of the victims but said they did not show any serious symptoms.

As of yesterday, the Penang Veterinary Service had taken blood samples from 90 pigs at farms in SPS and Barat Daya as well as five wild boars in SPS, Seberang Perai Utara and Seberang Perai Tengah but all were tested negative for JE.

 “Tests on pigs are generally negative for JE because the window for JE to emerge is quite short. So it could still come from the pigs in the farms, furthermore, most cases of JE show no symptoms,” Dr Norlela said.

She said that since the disease was spread through bites from the Culex mosquito, the breeding sites of the mosquito, larvaciding fumigation, and fogging will be carried out at the affected locations to break the chain of infection by destroying the larvae and adult mosquitoes.

Pig farmers and owners are advised to maintain cleanliness in their areas and destroy mosquito breeding grounds.

“The public are advised to get immediate treatment at the health clinics or hospital if they have fever and symptoms of JE infection such as headaches, fits or neurological changes,” she said. — Bernama

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