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Alarm bells as Jap Encephalitis surfaces in persons vaccinated against the disease

Patna district epidemologist Prashant Kumar confirmed two persons vaccinated against JE earlier had been detected with the affliction and one of them, a girl child, had already died from the disease.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2017 18:38 IST
Binod Dubey
Binod Dubey
Hindustan Times, Patna
Jap Encephalitis,Failed vaccination,Prashant Kumar
(HT representative image)

Even as the recalcitrant dengue and chikungunia viruses have continued attacking the people in Bihar, the detection of fresh cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) has added to the worries of the health planners and doctors in the state.

What has disturbed doctors the most that even persons who have been immunised against the JE virus, have been afflicted by the life threatening disease. Two such cases have been detected in Patna district, of which one patient succumbed to the vector-borne infection.

Confirming the development, district epidemologist Prashant Kumar told HT on Sunday that two JE patients – one each from Maner and Masaurhi in Patna district- had already been immunized against the Japanese encephalitis virus. The afflicted girl child from Masaurhi later died of the disease, he added.

Corroborating the epidemologist’s statement, Patna district immunisation officer Dr SP Vinayak said both the patients had indeed been vaccinated and their death from JE subsequently was really disturbing. He, however, said the efficacy of the vaccince in malnourished children was relatively less.

State immunisation officer Dr NK Sinha, too, opined that immunity level in malnourished patients was often compromised and, as such, the efficacy of the vaccine was low. He suggested that to get the full effect of mmunisation against JE, the nutrition of children should be increased.

Notwithstanding, what the health mandarins claim, the fact is that even vaccinated children are developing JE infection. The two cases mentioned above are merely the test cases. There may be many more patients, who have received the JE vaccine but still developed the disease.

Significantly, JE vaccination has been made a part of routine immunisation in the state and as per official figures, the coverage of JE vaccination is roughly 85% in Bihar.

As per reports, 42 cases of JE have been detected across the state in the current year, of which three confirmed patients have been found in Patna district. Two of them died, while one survived, confirmed Prashant Kumar.

According to the World Health Organisation(WHO), JE is transmitted to humans through bites from infected mosquitoes of Culex species and there is no anti-viral treatment of patients suffering from Japanese encephalitis. The treatment is only supportive to relieve symptoms and stabilise the patients, the WHO says.

To prevent the infection, the WHO strongly favours immunisation against JE along with strengthening surveillance and reporting mechanisms.

Another mosquito-borne infection, dengue, has continued to attack the Patna citizenry. With 197 dengue cases detected in the district, the number of such patients is increasing with every passing day.

This can be established by the fact that just a month ago 33 cases of dengue had been detected in the district, which rose to 197, on date. However, no dengue patient has succumbed to the disease in Patna so far.

First Published: Sep 24, 2017 18:38 IST