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Seven more die of Japanese Encephalitis in Assam

Toll mounts to 64; Congress slams state government

By Rajiv Konwar in Guwahati
  • Published 10.07.19, 12:03 AM
  • Updated 10.07.19, 12:03 AM
  • 2 mins read
The number of affected people reached 265 on Tuesday (Shutterstock)

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) claimed the lives of seven more persons from different parts of Assam on Tuesday, taking the toll in the state to 64.

The number of affected people reached 265 on Tuesday. The deaths and the number of affected people were 57 and 234 respectively on Monday.

Assam PCC president and Rajya Sabha member Ripun Bora on Tuesday sought to raise the matter in the Rajya Sabha, but could not do so as the House was adjourned over the issue of political crisis in Karnataka. “The matter was listed, but Parliament was adjourned,” Bora told The Telegraph.

He slammed the state government for allegedly not dealing with the JE outbreak seriously. “JE is a regular phenomenon in Assam. It did not take precautionary measures like distributing mosquito nets and launching intensive awareness drives,” he said. He alleged that medicine stocks and seats in the ICU for JE patients were inadequate.

Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday tweeted: “In our fight against Japanese encephalitis our field-level functionaries — MPWs, ASHAs and SWs — are doing yeoman service. A total of 32,932 blood slides were collected on a single day today as part of our fever-surveillance exercise, taking the cumulative figure to more than 15.5 lakhs.” On Saturday Sarma announced that leave of the state health department employees had been cancelled till September 30. However, the same day Sarma left for London, sources pointed out.

“The health minister has performed his responsibility by only giving instructions to the employees. He should personally monitor the situation,” Bora said.

Fingerlings released: The Tinsukia district administration in Assam has released 4,000 fingerlings of Gambusia affinis in drains, ditches and ponds under the Hapjan development block to contain and curb the spread of JE.

A control room has been set up at Hapjan primary health centre (PHC) and a help desk at the civil hospital. The Hapjan development block is the worst hit with nine positive cases of JE.

The sub-division health and medical officer of Hapjan PHC, Chandralekha Saikia, said the process to release fingerlings was on in various areas under the block.

“These include ditches, drains, ponds near Hindi High School and Makum College at Makum, Lal Bungalow in Tinsukia town, Bapuji gaon panchayat, Katchujan village and the Hapjan block office. The fingerlings were procured from the fisheries department,” Saikia said.

Fisheries development officer Pranjal Kumar Das said the reproduction rate of Gambusia affinis is very high and the fish feed on mosquito larvae. “The release of fingerlings will reduce mosquito count in the area,” he said.

The contact numbers of the control room at Hapjan PHC are 8638742501 and 9706956874. The contact numbers of the help-desk at the civil hospital is 6913028094.

Awareness drive: The Silchar Medical College and Hospital on Monday evening confirmed that Ibochangmocha Sinha, head teacher of a school in Lala, had died of JE on Saturday. Fogging operations are on.

The residents of hundreds of villages in Doomdooma on Tuesday demanded safe drinking water.

Additional reporting by Rishu Kalantri in Tinsukia, Satananda Bhattacharjee in Hailakandi and Manoj Kr. Ojha in Doomdooma