The incidence of viral encephalitis, including Japanese encephalitis, so far this year is much lower than that of previous same periods, Director of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Preventive Medicine Tran Dac Phu said on July 9.

The department reported that as of July 4, 357 viral encephalitis cases were recorded in 32 out of the 63 provinces and cities, down 10.8 percent from a year earlier. Six deaths were recorded, with just one from Japanese encephalitis.

Most of the cases occurred in northern localities, Phu said, adding that children under 15 years old are most vulnerable to the disease, which usually prevails in summer, peaking in June, July and August.

Japanese encephalitis vaccination has been added to the expanded immunisation programme since 1997, leading to a drop in the rate of encephalitis cases caused by Japanese encephalitis virus from 61.3 percent in 1995 to 10 – 15 percent at present, he added.

Since the beginning of 2014, the ministry has expanded Japanese encephalitis vaccination to under-five children in all 63 provinces and cities.

It plans to provide 4 million doses of this kind of vaccine for the immunisation programme this year, up from 2.3 million in 2013.

In the time ahead, the health sector is set to step up the vaccination and keep a close watch on the encephalitis situation to timely deal with hotbeds and deliver treatment.-VNA