After the blood samples of slaughtered pigs from areas where cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) were reported, came out negative, the authorities will go in for wider sampling to detect the origin of the disease.
Seven people, including two children, have tested positive for the disease so far and the JE infection has been detected in five people.
“It looks like it is a localised infection, but we have not yet been able to establish the missing link, which will be provided by pigs as they play host to the disease,” said a senior official from the state health department.
“Initially, we took samples of slaughtered pigs from the affected areas, but now we have directed local agencies to collect samples from across the city,” the official added.
“It’s not an easy task to collect samples of slaughtered pigs, as their slaughtering isn’t legal in Delhi. We are taking the help of the veterinary department to trace locations where pigs are slaughtered,” said Dr VK Monga, chairman, public health committee, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The disease has killed nearly 500 children in eastern Uttar Pradesh, and was detected for the first time in the Capital on September 21.
“Our acute encephalitis syndrome surveillance has been on for some time, and that is how the disease was picked up. One in 250 to 1000 people show symptoms of the disease that is largely asymptomatic,” said the health department official.
Areas having bird and pig population and water bodies, apart from greenery are considered high-risk areas for the spread of JE infection.
Some of the areas covered include Ragubir Nagar, Mangol Puri, Shastri Park and Rohini.
Positive JE cases have been reported from Gole Market in central Delhi, north-west Delhi’s Bawana, Pooth Khurd and Jahangirpuri, east Delhi’s Kanti nagar and Trilok Puri, and west Delhi’s Inder Puri areas.
“We have taken all containment measures such as fogging and de-weeding of water bodies to kill and prevent mosquito breeding in these areas,” said Dr Monga.