|Health workers sanitise Repeat Colony on Dimna Road
in Mango on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
The death of a seven-year-old boy, suffering from Japanese encephalitis, has jolted Jamshedpur’s guardians into a planned vector war in the vulnerable Mango neighbourhood of the city.
Nodal officer of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project’s (IDSP) district unit Shahir Pal on Tuesday led a joint team from malaria and filaria control units in an extensive awareness and blood sample collection campaign following directives from East Singhbhum civil surgeon Jagat Bhusan Prasad.
On Monday, Olidih resident Sagar Kumar Lal, who was admitted to a private hospital on October 3 and had tested positive for Japanese encephalitis (JE), succumbed to the viral disease. The vector-testing lab at MGM Medical College in Dimna also confirmed four more JE and five dengue cases the same day, triggering an alarm.
IDSP nodal officer Pal said this year, 37 cases of JE had been reported from health centres across the city, while dengue is stalking 15. Sagar was the first encephalitis victim, while there has been no dengue fatality so far. “A campaign has been launched. This is the first time both malaria and filaria control units are working in tandem for maximum results,” he added.
Normally, the anti-malaria squad operates on the outskirts of the city and rural pockets of the district, while filaria busters spray larvicides in non-Jusco command areas in the city. The Tata Steel subsidiary carries out fogging and spraying exercises in command areas of the company.
Pal’s 15-member team is putting up Hindi posters, elaborating symptoms of encephalitis and preventive steps, near temples, markets, schools and other public places. Leaflets, issued by National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, were also distributed along Dimna Road.
The malaria control unit has floated two helplines — 0657-2317223 and 2234749 — that can be accessed any day between 9am and 5pm. People can enquire about symptoms of malaria, dengue and JE, and also seek remedial measures.
“The team collected nearly 300 blood samples in the affected neighbourhood of Mango. These were subjected to the rapid card test for malaria. Fortunately, none was positive,” Pal said.
A similar drive was also carried out in Bistupur on Tuesday afternoon. “In phases, we will cover all areas where positive cases of dengue or JE have been reported. The drive will continue during Durga Puja,” the IDSP official added.
Japanese encephalitis is caused by a Flavivirus, carried by Culex mosquito. Most infections are mild, with symptoms like fever and headache, but one in every 200 is characterised by rapid onset of high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and death.
The Aedes mosquito carries the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and skin rash. In a few cases, the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome.