JE alert in Tripura, Mizoram

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) has so far claimed 68 lives and affected 306

By Staff reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 12.07.19, 1:25 AM
  • Updated 12.07.19, 1:25 AM
  • 3 mins read
  •  
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed the health department functionaries to collect blood samples from inmates of relief camps set up for flood victims in the state to contain Japanese Encephalitis (JE) Telegraph file picture

In view of spurt of JE and malaria cases, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed the health department functionaries to collect blood samples from inmates of relief camps set up for flood victims in the state to contain Japanese Encephalitis (JE) which has so far claimed 68 lives and 306 affected.

Sonowal had given the instruction during a video conference with deputy commissioners to review the flood situation in the state.

Till Wednesday 64 people had fallen victims to JE and 265 were undergoing treatment. But the death toll rose by four on Thursday. Even the numbers of affected rose substantially.

Dispur had last week cancelled the leave of doctors and paramedics till September following the outbreak of JE.

Several positive cases of JE and AES have been reported from Udalguri and Baksa too. “Udalguri has reported 6 and 14 positive cases of JE and AES respectively. One person has died at GMCH," a health official said.

While health authorities are working on various ways to combat threat from these diseases,the administration and student bodies like the All Bodo Students' Union(ABSU) are also joining hands for awareness generation and capacity building of local community to combat the ruckus of the deadly diseases

Historically,districts of Assam that border Bhutan including Udalguri and Baksa are among those with some of the highest vector-borne disease burdens in the state moreover the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) an umbrella programme for prevention and control of malaria and other vector borne diseases identify the vulnerable groups to be the children, women, scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) while tribal communities rearing pig as means of livelihood are more susceptible to the diseases.

The outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in Assam has prompted the Tripura government to sound an alert in North district, which shares its border with Assam and Mizoram.

Tripura health secretary Debasish Basu said on Thursday, “We have informed all chief medical officers to remain alert on the spread of Japanese encephalitis. Some parts of neighbouring Assam have been affected. We have also directed our officials in the North district to remain alert and conduct awareness camps in the villages.”

Jagadish Chandra Nama, chief medical officer of North district, said one patient was found to be suffering from Japanese encephalitis at Damcherra, a remote village, around 180km from here, on June 15.

“After treatment of the patient, we visited the area and his residence. The person has recovered. We have started conducting awareness camps in the villages and adjoining areas. We have also alerted our staff in various primary health centres to keep a close watch on the situation, since Assam shares a border with North district,” Nama said.

Mizoram plan

The Mizoram government is planning mass awareness drives and screening of visitors from Assam to prevent an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in the state, a senior health department official said Thursday. The steps are being taken after the disease killed 64 people and infected over 200 in Assam, with which Mizoram shares a 123km porous border. The official said though no positive encephalitis case has been reported in Mizoram, efforts are being made to prevent a possible entry from the neighbouring state.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed the health department to collect blood samples of flood relief camp inmates in a bid to contain the disease.

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) has claimed the lives of 68 persons while 306 are undergoing treatment in Assam, forcing the government to cancel the leave of doctors and paramedics till September.

“Udalguri has reported six and 14 positive cases of JE and AES respectively. One person has died at GMCH,” a health official said.

The administration and student bodies like the Absu are also joining hands for awareness generation and capacity building of local community to combat the disease.

“Mizoram is particularly vulnerable to Japanese encephalitis as the culex mosquito, the carrier of the disease, is the most populous mosquito species in the state. Steps will be taken to reduce its population,” Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma, state nodal officer of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, said.

The culex mosquito carries the virus from pigs, birds and other animals, he said.

Additional reporting by PTI and Shajid Khan in Udalguri