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Encephalitis alert in state

Shillong, July 21: Japanese encephalitis, which claimed over 40 lives in Assam, has put neighbouring Meghalaya on high alert, including districts along the inter-state boundary.

Meghalaya health and family welfare secretary M.R. Synrem today said all the 11 districts in the state were on high alert and preventive measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the disease.

“The state is already prepared to face any outbreak. So far, no case of Japanese encephalitis has been detected,” Synrem said.

He said districts in both Khasi hills and Garo hills bordering Assam, especially health centres, have been advised to remain cautious.

The official urged the residents, especially those staying near pig sheds, to be on extra vigil.

He said the viral disease is spread to human beings by bites from infected mosquitoes, which had first bitten pigs. In Assam, at least 43 encephalitis-related deaths have been reported.

The total number of confirmed Japanese encephalitis cases has touched 311, while the total number of people detected with acute encephalitis syndrome is 934.

The affected districts include Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Dhemaji, Barpeta, Sonitpur, Kamrup and Kamrup (metro).

Kamrup and Kamrup (metro) districts share the boundary with some district in Meghalaya like Ri Bhoi and West Khasi Hills.

Earlier this year, the Assam health department had carried out the adult vaccination campaign against Japanese encephalitis for people in the age group of 15-70 years in various districts as preventive measures.