Jorhat, Aug. 2: The veterinary department has joined the health department to fight the spread of Japanese encephalitis in Sivasagar by distributing mosquito repellents to pig farmers.
Farmers have been asked to apply a medicine — Tickout — on the pigs to kill the mosquitoes that bite them. Pigs are one of the carriers of the Japanese encephalitis virus that is transferred to humans by mosquitoes.
Sivasagar district health surveillance officer Hemanta Kumar Baruah said of the 113 cases of Japanese encephalitis and AES (acute encephalitis syndrome) reported in the district since January 40 people had died, 12 cases had recovered fully and 61 were under treatment.
In 2011, from January to September, 246 cases had been reported and 98 had died.
Baruah said the veterinary department in the district was actively engaged with the health department in countering the disease by conducting awareness camps with farmers.
“Veterinary department officials are distributing leaflets listing the dos and don’ts for pig farmers. And the department of the joint director of health has procured Tickout, which will be given to the farmers so that mosquitoes do not become carriers from pigs infected by the virus,” Baruah said.
Despite asking farmers to breed pigs at a distance from households, many farmers still persist with the practice of keeping the pigs below changghars (houses on stilts), he said.
Joint director veterinary here, Rajendra Prasad Shyam, said he had printed 5,000 leaflets to be distributed to pig farmers in all five Upper Assam districts.
“The leaflet explains how much Pektocide, Butox and Indocard (medicines) is to be mixed with what quantity of water and applied on pigs to repel mosquitoes for one week, but different districts may procure different medicines,” he said.
The programme carried out by veterinary officials in Jorhat seems to have borne fruit because there has been low incidences of the disease here, Shyam said.
Today, veterinary doctors who were on their way to vaccinate pigs in Majuli were sent with leaflets and batches of the medicine for distribution.
Nearly five lakh adults (above-15 years) of the district had been vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis under a pilot project, which the state government claimed to be the first of its kind in the country.
Of the 113 cases reported in Sivasagar district this year, 24 had been already vaccinated against the virus. And of the 53 confirmed cases of AES, 16 had been vaccinated of whom seven died.