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Seven encephalitis cases in Meghalaya

Shillong, Aug. 5: The Meghalaya government has reviewed the situation following the outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in the state with seven confirmed cases and 23 people suspected with acute encephalitis syndrome.

Chief secretary P.B.O. Warjri held a meeting with officials of the health department and discussed the issue. Residents are worried that there is no specific treatment to cure the disease, except vaccination.

Meghalaya directorate of health services, joint director and in-charge Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP), Dr R.O. Budnah told reporters today that so far, nobody has died of Japanese encephalitis in the state.

Though a few people tested positive last week, the health authorities, however, revealed the figures of confirmed cases and suspected cases to the media only today.

But the state programme officer of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Dr B. Mawlong refused to share any information related to the case.

One patient is being treated at Shillong civil hospital and the six others who have tested positive were treated at North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Mawdiangdiang, about 15km from here. Reportedly, five patients have already been discharged.

The MAC Elisa test kit for diagnosis of the disease were provided by the Centre to the state and procured from the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

Giving a district-wise list of patients having tested positive, Budnah said three cases are from Ri Bhoi, two from the East Khasi Hills and one each from the West Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills.

Budnah said there has been an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in areas where there is a close interaction between the egrets and pigs and human beings.

The vector mosquitoes breed in large waterbodies such as paddy fields.

He said the signs and symptoms of Japanese encephalitis include acute fever, headache and altered sensorium (affects the nerves).

Stating that government has taken appropriate steps to check the spread of the disease, Budnah said all health centres, including private hospitals in the state, have been alerted and immediate necessary intervention has been taken up where suspected cases are reported and confirmed.

The government is also conducting awareness programmes at all levels especially in vulnerable areas. Budnah, however, said there was no plan to conduct mass vaccination in the state as yet.


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