Are infants at risk for Japanese encephalitis? How long will the infection take to get worse? (Ngoc Giang, 35 years old, Hanoi).
Japanese encephalitis can strike people of all ages. However, the mosquitoes that cause disease often live in fields, near livestock barns, and bite at night or at dusk. Meanwhile, babies often stay at home, rarely go out much, reducing the risk of disease.
Therefore, newborn babies have a much lower rate of disease than those who know how to go out and play. However, parents should not be subjective because if children go to areas with cattle and fields, there is always a risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and infected.
For children, Japanese encephalitis is a dangerous medical emergency. Therefore, children with the disease at any age, the damage to the central nervous system occurs early, the baby may initially have fever, headache, cry, stop feeding, lethargy, … quickly fall into coma, convulsions about 1-2 days after fever.
In young children, the diagnosis is more difficult than in adults because children cannot speak yet. Parents can rely on symptoms such as vomiting, if they have encephalitis/meningitis, the fontanel will swell, accompanied by convulsions, lethargy, lethargy.. Newborns have abnormal expressions. If you have a fever, you need to go to the doctor right away. These can be signs of serious illness, damage to the central nervous system. The best way to prevent it is to be fully vaccinated, keep children living in a clean, cool environment. The house is clear of bushes to avoid creating conditions for mosquitoes to hide and breed.. causing disease.
According to VNCDC, Japanese encephalitis is a disease with high mortality and sequelae (25-35%). About 20-30% of cases can progress to death. In particular, children under 10 years of age have a higher risk of severe progression and death. Death usually occurs in the first 7 days when the patient has a deep coma, convulsions, and symptoms of medullary damage appear. Patients who are lucky to survive can still leave serious sequelae: mental disorders, movement disorders.
MSc. Le Phan Kim Thoa
Head of Pediatrics Department, Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City