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Myanmar plans immunization of 14 million young people against encephalitis


Young men browse their Facebook wall on their smartphones as they sit in a street in Yangon. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP

Myanmar is planning to immunize 14 million young people against Japanese encephalitis (JE) , a mosquito-borne disease with symptoms that develop within one to two weeks, official media reported Friday. 

The symptoms include fever, headaches, vomiting, confusion and limited mobility, seriously swelling around the brain and coma. 

As a prevention measure, children aged between nine months and 15 years will be vaccinated under two programs which are school-based and public-based, according to the country's Department of Public Health. 

Under the school-based program, 7.9 million children will be vaccinated within a week in November, while the public-based program will cover 5.6 million children within a week in December. 

However, the aspect of the program will be the most challenging as it will include scattered population in rural areas where roads are poor and clinics far apart, said officials of the Public Health Department. 

Myanmar conducted vaccination program extensively against the Japanese encephalitis in Rakhine state in 2014 due to large number of such cases. The appearance of more such symptoms in other regions and states prompted the health department to launch a nation-level vaccination program this year. 

According to the World Health Organization, more than 3 million people in 24 countries in Southeast Asia and western Pacific region are being affected the ongoing Japanese encephalitis epidemic.

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