JE outbreak: 11 Culex mosquito breeding areas found in Kota Setar district

ALOR SETAR: Eleven breeding areas of Culex tritaeniorhynchus and Culex sitiens mosquitoes, which have the potential to spread the Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus, have been detected in the Kota Setar district.

Kedah Health director Dr Othman Warijo said the breeding areas were detected through an entomological study by the state Health Department as one of its epidemic control activities carried out from Nov 25 until Thursday (Dec 2).

“Until Thursday, which is the eighth day of the outbreak, the number of JE cases reported in the locality remained at two, and both patients died.

“Active case detection has been carried out around the affected areas. A total of 674 or 23% of 2,926 residents in both localities were screened for JE and none were found with symptoms," he said in a statement on Friday (Dec 23).

Dr Othman said a total of 291 (70.6%) of premises within a 400m radius of the patients’ home were inspected where 14 containers were found with mosquito larvae which were promptly killed with 672ml of Abate 500E BTI larvicide.

He said thermal space spraying was also conducted at 412 premises on Nov 25 and 26, while ultra low volume (ULV) spraying was conducted on Nov 25 and 27 covering 912 premises.

Dr Othman said no pig farms were found around the outbreak locality and surveys using drones along the nearby river also did not find any risky locations.

There was, however, the presence of migratory birds – which are potential reservoir hosts that could carry JE without suffering ill effects – in padi fields.

He advised Kota Setar residents to take the necessary preventive measures, including avoiding mosquito bites and spraying insecticide indoors.

"Ensure cleanliness of the environment and destroy mosquito breeding areas and for those with symptoms such as fever, headache and vomiting, seek immediate medical treatment,” he said.

On Sunday (Nov 28), the state Health Department disclosed that two JE cases were detected in Kota Setar district on Nov 18 and 25 and declared an outbreak of the disease in the district. – Bernama

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