Two positive cases of Japanese encephalitis and three suspected cases of dengue in 24 hours have prompted the state health department to put East Singhbhum on alert against vector-borne diseases.
The district unit of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) spread the word of caution to all the 30 private and government hospitals in Jamshedpur on Friday, asking them to monitor patients with symptoms and file reports 24x7.
IDSP nodal officer Shahir Paul said Tata Main Hospital (TMH) had reported three suspected dengue cases on Thursday evening, while the Japanese encephalitis (JE) confirmations came from MGM Medical College the same morning.
“Two persons from Chakradharpur (West Singhbhum) and one from Kapali in Mango are, currently, admitted to the intensive care unit of TMH. The hospital, which carried out basic investigations, has sought a confirmatory ELISA test. We have sent serum samples to MGM Medical College’s vector lab in Dimna. The results are expected tomorrow (Saturday), today being a holiday for Id,” Paul said.
He added that Lalita Gope (15), a resident of Chaibasa muffasil in West Singhbhum, and Phalo Soren (12) of Ichagarh in Seraikela-Kharsawan were undergoing treatment at Mercy Hospital in Baridih. They were admitted in the first week of August and their serum samples were found positive for JE after confirmatory tests at MGM.
Last monsoon, there were 22 positive cases of dengue and two of JE.
The latter is caused by a flavivirus, carried by the Culex mosquito, and affects the membranes around the brain. Most JE virus infections are mild (fever and headache) or without apparent symptoms, but approximately one in 200 infections is characterised by rapid onset of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and death.
According to WHO, the case fatality rate can be as high as 60 per cent among those with disease symptoms; 30 per cent of those who survive suffer from lasting damage to the central nervous system. In areas where the JE virus is common, encephalitis occurs mainly in young children because adults have already been infected and are immune.
The dengue virus carried by the Aedes mosquito causes dengue fever, aka breakbone fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and skin rash. In a small proportion of cases, the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue haemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low platelet count and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, characterised by dangerously low blood pressure.
The district IDSP official has asked hospitals and health centres to report patients with such symptoms without delay. “Details of patients with JE, dengue or chikungunya symptoms are needed on a daily basis. This will help us arrange serum or blood sample tests without delay,” Paul said.
Apart from co-ordinating with the district filaria and malaria wings for spraying larvicides, the IDSP is planning door-to-door campaign in areas identified as vulnerable to vector-borne diseases in the past.
“Jusco has been spraying chemicals and fogging its command areas, while urban local bodies are distributing pamphlets telling people not to let water stagnate in unused containers or clogged drains. We will soon visit the disease dens to take stock of the situation,” Paul said.
What precautions are you taking this monsoon?