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Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

Japanese encephalitis kills 48 people in Assam

To prevent and contain the outbreak, state government officials have set up a round-the-clock control centre, begun supplying diagnostic kits to all districts hospitals, and started fogging in villages.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2019 23:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) stage a protest against the authorities’ over the deaths due to Japanese Encephalitis outbreak, in front of the State Directorate of Health in Guwahati
All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) stage a protest against the authorities’ over the deaths due to Japanese Encephalitis outbreak, in front of the State Directorate of Health in Guwahati(PTI)
         

Forty-eight people have died in Assam due to Japanese Encephalitis, officials said on Thursday. As many as 29 out of 33 districts are affected by the disease that is spread by Culex mosquitoes.

“The JE cases reported are 159 and JE death cases are 48 as on July 4,” said a bulletin from the office of JVN Subramanyam, director, National Health Mission, Assam. “Surveillance has been beefed up,” Subramanyam said, adding that “there is nothing to worry but we are on caution.” He said July falls in the transmission season of the virus.

A second official of the NHM said, “Only Dima Hasao, Udalguri, Karbi Anglong and Sonitpur districts are not affected.”

A third official of the NHM said Kamrup (rural) adjoining Guwahati and Jorhat in Upper Assam are the worst affected districts.

“This virus spreads most in the summer and rainy seasons,” said Ananta Nath, a senior pediatrician at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital.

To prevent and contain the outbreak, state government officials have set up a round-the-clock control centre, begun supplying diagnostic kits to all districts hospitals, and started fogging in villages. “The team is rigourously working in the field area for blood slide collection and fever survey,” the bulletin said.

A statement from Subramanyam’s office said the state government was ensuring that treatment and diagnostic costs at medical colleges and district hospitals are being borne by the state. In all district hospitals and intensive care units, beds have been reserved for JE patients.

Officials said they aim to increase vaccination cover to 100% in the state. “Currently, it is about 60%,” an official of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme said earlier this week.

According to Dr Nath, the number of cases and their severity have increased but the mortality rate has come down. He attributed the high number of cases to faulty vaccination in some rural areas. There are cases where vaccinated persons have been infected with JE, he said.

Moreover, the wetlands, stagnant water in paddy fields breeding mosquitoes and high population of pigs and water birds like herons together make Assam prone to JE. In 2018 there were 509 cases and 94 deaths in Assam due to JE.

First Published: Jul 04, 2019 22:28 IST

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