Parents in northern Vietnam should pay close attention to their children’s health during summertime, as such diseases as Japanese encephalitis can become more common during this time of the year, a Hanoi-based doctor advised.
Children often catch mosquito-borne diseases, as well as those transmitted through the digestive and respiratory tracts in summer, Dr. Dao Huu Nam, head of the intensive care unit at the Vietnam National Children’s Hospital in Hanoi, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease and Japanese encephalitis are among the common illnesses during the season, Nam noted.
The Vietnam National Children’s Hospital often received Japanese encephalitis patients in March or April of previous years, the doctor continued, adding that no cases have been documented at the infirmary so far this year.
The appearance of the disease may come late this year following the recent COVID-19 outbreak and related social distancing drives, he explained.
Japanese encephalitis is recorded in children aged three to 15, Nam stated, adding that the hospital treats an average of 50 to 60 patients each year.
The incubation period is five to 14 days, after which the virus will cross the blood-brain barrier and cause cerebral edema.
The patient will have a fever of 39-40 degrees Celsius or higher, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
“As these symptoms can be mistaken for those of food poisoning, parents may delay the hospitalization of their children, which poses difficulties for the treatment later on,” Nam elaborated.
Without prompt treatment, the disease can cause dangerous complications such as metabolic disorders, infectious ulcers, mental health disorders, and paralysis.
There can also be late complications including epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.
As Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne disease, parents are advised to prevent it by vaccinating their children against the virus, keeping the house clean, and getting rid of mosquitoes at their homes.