GEORGE TOWN, July 7 (Bernama) — The Health Ministry contemplates a bid to provide Japanese Encephalitis (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 after officiating village development and security committee appointments in Balik Pulau here Sunday night.
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.
Seventeen 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.
The latest victim is a 29-month-old girl from Butterworth, who was admitted to Penang Hospital on suspicion of contracting JE.
Victim Muhammad Ammar Muqrish Zulkifli, 12, from Kampung Selamat in Tasek Gelugor, was in a semi-conscious state for about a month before regaining consciousness on Tuesday.