News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Myanmar: 586,000 kids vaccinated to shield their brains

Children vaccinated against brain inflammation in Myanmar

About 586,744 children in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are to be vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) from Dec. 11 to Dec. 21, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported on Friday.

It added that children aged between nine months and five years would be vaccinated during the period.

Encephalitis is an acute inflammation (swelling) of the brain usually resulting from either a viral infection or due to the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacking brain tissue.

At present, about 353,741 such children in Sittwe, MraukU, Maungtaw, Kyaukphyu and Thandwe in Rakhine state were being vaccinated under the people-based vaccination programme against JE.

Under the programme, the health authorities are also vaccinating 251,983 children in remote areas.

So far, a total of 470,580 children between the age of 5 years and 15 years, including those in remote border areas, have been vaccinated under the Rakhine state programme from Nov. 15 to 23.

Japanese Encephalitis virus is maintained in a cycle involving mosquitoes and vertebrate hosts, mainly pigs and wading birds. Humans can be infected when bitten by an infected mosquito.

Some infected patients will develop neurological symptoms including tremors, seizures (especially among children), as well as mental status changes and movement disorders.

Japanese Encephalitis can be fatal in 20 to 30 per cent of cases and most of survivors continue to have neurologic, cognitive or psychiatric symptoms.