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Rise in Japanese Encephalitis cases raise concern in Assam

Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese Encephalitis: WHO defines Japanese Encephalitis as a virus related to dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile viruses and is spread by mosquitos.

Japanese Encephalitis

In the past few years, Assam has seen a sharp increase in vector-borne illnesses like dengue and Japanese encephalitis (JE), which carry serious health risks. There have been more than 15 fatalities from vector-borne diseases during this monsoon season, according to official statistics. Medical schools have taken the necessary steps to address the disease outbreak, and all district authorities are on high alert.
According to the WHO, Japanese Encephalitis is a mosquito-transmitted virus that is related to the dengue, yellow fever, and west nile viruses.

According to the health department, JE cases in Assam are typically reported from July to September each year, but this year, cases began to emerge in the middle of July.

The JE virus spreads through human bites from infected Culex species mosquitoes, particularly Culex tritaeniorhynchus. The risk of contracting the disease is typically higher in areas close to pig habitats, water sources, and paddy fields.

A person with JE will typically either have no symptoms at all or very minor ones, according to the doctors. While nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, speech impediment, and spastic paralysis are severe symptoms, fever and headache are moderate ones.

People should wear long sleeves, use mosquito nets, insecticides, and repellents, clean standing water and drains, and keep their surroundings clean as a preventative measure.

To avoid contracting JE, vaccination is advised. The Indian Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) now offers a vaccine to protect against the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) in areas where it is common.

State in India most impacted The majority of JE-related fatalities in 2006 occurred in Assam. There had been nearly 1,500 fatalities from the illness. Additionally, 77 people died from JE-like illnesses in July and August of the previous year.

The health department is prepared to handle the increase in JE cases, according to state health minister Keshab Mahanta. Every government hospital has set aside beds specifically for these patients. To get rid of mosquitoes, every exposed area is fumigated.

JE claimed the lives of 730 people in India between 2018 and 2022, of whom 442 were residents of Assam alone, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

It has affected 254 people so far, a senior health department officer told IANS. Only at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) did five people pass away. In numerous hospitals, a number of patients are in critical condition. The death toll could thus rise, it is feared the signs of JE.

Doctors claim that fever and a severe headache are the first signs of Japanese encephalitis. The onset of fever causes the patients to experience delirium. If this occurs, medical professionals advise the sick to be admitted to the hospital right away.

The general populace should exercise caution, according to Minister Mahanta. Utilize nets treated with insecticide. He continued, “Health professionals are visiting people’s homes and testing blood samples. “Free treatment of Japanese encephalitis has been arranged in government hospitals,” Mahanta stated. “.


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