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Malaysia Steps up Measures to Control Japanese Encephalitis

07 July 2014

MALAYSIA - The measures include better monitoring of pig movements and treatments to kill the mosquitoes that transmit the virus as well as vaccination of people who live in high-risk areas.

The Veterinary Services Department with the cooperation of the Health Department will step up monitoring and fogging at pig farms to prevent any risk of Japanese Encephalitis (JE).

Bernama reports that Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said rearers were also not allowed to transport the animals out of the farms.

He also urged the 542 pig rearers in the peninsula to enhance the cleanliness of their farms by improving the drainage and sewage systems.

"Although the pig farms in Kampung Selamat have been reported to be free of JE, the veterinary department is still taking precautions to monitor activities there," he told reporters after breaking fast and presentation of Ramadan assistance to Bukit Kepayang Felda settlers.

Last week, a Year Six pupil of Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Selamat in Tasek Gelugor, Penang was admitted to the hospital after being infected with the JE virus, adds the report.

People are infected with the JE virus by mosquito bites; pigs are a source of the virus.

According to a separate Bernama report, the Health Ministry is considering whether to provide JE vaccine in high-risk areas in Tasek Gelugor to curb the virus from spreading.

Its deputy minister, Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said as the vaccine was costly, the ministry had to analyse other measures first.

He said there were two ways of controlling JE, firstly by eliminating the hosts identified, and secondly, by providing vaccine.

"As blood samples of pigs in Kampung Selamat, Tasek Gelugor were tested negative, we contemplate a bid to provide vaccine in high-risk areas.

"The Health Department, the Veterinary Services Department and the state government will discuss further action to address the situation," he told reporters in Balik Pulau.

He said for the time being, efforts were focused on breaking the mosquitoes' breeding cycle by fogging not only pig farms but also other animal farms.

Dr Hilmi urged the people to rid their houses and compounds of mosquito breeding grounds to prevent vector-borne diseases, including dengue.

According to Bernama, 17 JE cases have been reported nationwide, of which eight were reported in Sarawak, four in Sabah, three in Penang and one each in Selangor and Kelantan. Four had been fatal.

Further Reading

Find out more information on Japanese encephalitis by clicking here.

ThePigSite News Desk

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