Boy dies of Japanese encephalitis in Laguna
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said the patient from San Pablo City died, as confirmed by the Laguna provincial health officer. However, the regional Department of Health called the Inquirer’s attention late Tuesday night to correct the information given by the provincial health officer. According to the DOH, the patient from San Pablo City, upon their verification, is alive. The provincial health officer on Wednesday morning also corrected the initial information and confirmed the report relayed by DOH.
SAN PEDRO CITY – The provincial health office in Laguna said a boy succumbed to Japanese encephalitis, the first confirmed case of the mosquito-borne disease in the Southern Tagalog province this year.
On Tuesday, Dr. Rene Bagamasbad, Laguna health officer, said the victim was a nine-year-old boy in Calauan town. He said the boy died around two weeks ago.
So far, only the Calauan case has so far reached the Calabarzon office of the Department of Health, according to Dr. Rio Magpantay, DOH regional director.
The regional office, however, had also started monitoring “signs and symptoms” of possible Japanese encephalitis incidence in other parts of Laguna.
Calabarzon stands for the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.
The disease, which is transmitted by the culex mosquito, commonly causes abdominal pains, fever and seizures. It may also cause a part of the brain to swell.
Vaccines are available. But there is no cure yet for the disease.
Vaccines are currently not part of the government’s immunization program.
Magpantay said there was no declaration of an outbreak. But the DOH regional office would strengthen the surveillance of communities and hospitals.
It usually takes some time to confirm a case of Japanese encephalitis because specimens, such as the patient’s blood sample, would have to be collected and submitted for testing at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa in Metro Manila. /atm
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