Blood tests of a Malaysian woman have turned out to be negative for the presence of Japanese Encephalitis virus, according to a statement issued by the health minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek. The Malaysian health officials are closely monitoring the situation, however.
The victim, Norhayati Awang is currently being treated at the High Dependency Ward at Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II. According to official reports, she is still under a critical stage. Two other cases raising suspicion of Japanese Encephalitis are also being investigated.
Japanese encephalitis, a much dreaded mosquito-borne disease is transmitted by the culex tritaeniorhynchus mosquito. Symptoms of the disease range from fever, headache, generalized fatigue, nausea and vomiting, lasting for several days. The virus mainly attacks the central nervous system. If untreated, it can lead to severe complications and even death.
An encephalitis outbreak that occurred in 1999, caused by Nipah virus, a strain of the Japanese encephalitis virus, claimed the lives of nearly 100 individuals and forced the evacuation of a thousand other local community members.
The recent death of Siti Mardiana Mohd Ramli, a 13-year old girl has raised concerns regarding the possibility of an outbreak. The health officials have requested the villagers to keep their surroundings clean and clear any stagnant water sources such as ponds, rivers that could provide an ideal breeding ground for culex mosquitoes.