Assam sounds emergency after toll in Japanese encephalitis rises to 49
The Assam government on Saturday initiated several emergency measures to tackle the situation in the state after the death toll in Japanese Encephalitis (JE) rose to 49 while 190 others tested positive.
Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said all districts except Kokrajhar have been affected by the disease. Leaves of all doctors and paramedical staff have been put on hold till September 30.
But he did not term the situation as alarming.
“On an average, nearly 100 deaths due to JE are reported across the state annually. In 2015, the figure was as high as 135, but in 2017 it came down to 87 deaths,” Sarma told reporters.
He said that 12.8 lakh blood sample slides have been collected to test for outbreak of JE-related fever and diagnostic kits provided to all district hospitals and medical colleges.
“The situation in the state is under close watch and all preventive measures are being taken,” the government said in a statement. They include several new initiatives for both JE and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) patients.
Patients who reach hospitals using their own transport will be paid Rs 1,000 and all costs of JE and AES patients staying in intensive care units (ICUs) will be borne by government.
Those JE and AES patients who undergo treatment in private hospitals and nursing homes will be given a one-time financial support of Rs 100,000.
“Any kind of emergency leave (for doctors and paramedical staff) will be granted only with prior approval of deputy commissioners of districts,” the government statement said.
“Unauthorised absence from the place of posting even after duty hours will be treated seriously amounting to criminal dereliction of duty,” it added.