Emergencies preparedness, response

1999 - Janpanese Encephalitis and Hendra-like Viurs in Malaysia

22 March 1999

Disease Outbreak Reported

To date (19 March 1999), there are 133 reported cases of either confirmed or suspected cases of Japanese Encephalitis in the outbreak which first started in Perak, and later in Negeri Sembilan. Of these, 54 persons have died. In this outbreak, out of 133 reported cases, 42 have been confirmed to have Japanese Encephalitis. Many cases may soon be confirmed as the laboratory results become available.

In addition to Japanese Encephalitis, there is now evidence of a new virus. This virus was isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid of 5 out of 30 patients sent to Professor S K Lam and his team at the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Malaya. Their finding was subsequently confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, USA. This virus is a member of the Paramyxovirus family. It is closely related to Hendra virus which was first isolated in Hendra, a suburb of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. In the outbreak which occurred in 1994, race horses and 3 persons whose work involved close contact with horses were taken ill. 2 of the 3 persons subsequently died, one died of severe respiratory infection and the other of encephalitis after a latent period of 13 months.

Source:  Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Malaysia

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