Around 200 children are hospitalised for viral encephalitis every year in Yangon
THE government has added a Japanese encephalitis vaccine to their regular immunisation program according to Dr Kyaw Linn of the Yangon Children’s Hospital.
According to hospital figures around 200 children are treated for viral encephalitis each year. These children come mostly from Yangon, Rakhine and Ayeyawady and the Kayin and Mon states. Children under 15 are the most at risk group. Young patients have little chance of a complete recovery. Many die or are left permanently disabled.
“One-third of those infected die whilst two-thirds are left disabled” said Senior Consultant Pediatrician Dr Kyaw Linn. “There is no fluctuation in the rate of outbreaks. It has remained steadily around the 200 mark. The rate would fall if children were vaccinated.”
Mosquitoes, pigs and long-necked birds are known virus carriers. There is no cure for the disease at this time but it can be successfully immunised against. Currently the government is unable to conduct an encephalitis immunisation program nationwide. The vaccine is available only in private hospitals and clinics at a price of about K30,000 (US$23) per injection. Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus is the leading cause of preventable encephalitis in Asia. To reduce the outbreak of JE a Southeast Asia Encephalitis Project will be launched in Myanmar no later than 2017 in cooperation with Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, Dr Kyaw Linn said.