Indonesia’s Ministry of Health says it is keeping close tabs on Japanese Encephalitis in the country’s two regions with the most cases: Bali and Manado.
Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is a viral brain infection that is most commonly transmitted to humans through mosquitoes, but animals like birds, bats, cows, and pigs can act as reservoirs.
Rare but severe effects of the viral infection can include blindness, ataxia, weakness, movement disorders, and death in 20-30 percent of cases. Symptoms like headache, fever, and convulsions usually take five to 15 days to present themselves.
“The cause of JE is that bats, mosquitoes, or other reservoirs act as carriers, like pigs or poultry that are usually living in dirty places,” Ministry of Health Director of Surveillance and Quarantine, Vensya Sitohang, said in Nusa Dua on Tuesday.
Bali Province ranks first as having the most cases of JE in the country, followed by Manado, North Sulawesi, according to the ministry’s data.
“So far, we in Indonesia, in this case, the Ministry of Health, has just recorded this disease in several sites, because we have found cases in Bali, and Manado, ranking second,” Vensya said, as quoted by Detik.
The ministry says it has been taking precautions and working to prevent transmission of JE to other regions in the country.
“To intervene with (the spread of) this disease, we have been introducing vaccinations in Bali with pretty good results. We are intervening with immunizations,” Vensya said.
Vaccinations are starting from those aged 9 months to 15 years old–children under 15 are said to be most susceptible to the infection. The original target was 962,810, but the ministry has surpassed its goal, vaccinating 979,953 people.
“The hope is that it prevents it early, so no physically disability is reached,” Vensya added.