GUWAHATI, July 24 � Even though encephalitis (Japanese Encephalitis - JE in short) has taken a heavy toll and affected 20 out of the 27 districts of the State, the State Health Department has claimed that due to the measures it has taken to prevent spread of the disease, it has remained under control.
Or else, the disease, would have claimed more lives, claimed sources in the Health Department.
However, sources in the National Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) of the Central Government contest the above claim of the State Health Department as not true.
Sources in the Health Department told this newspaper the Department has taken steps like distribution of the long lasting insecticidal nets in the high risk areas, conducted awareness programmes against the vector-borne diseases all over the State. These awareness programmes have been undertaken generally on malaria and particularly on JE in the high-risk areas of the disease.
Around 35 lakh long lasting insecticidal nets have been distributed by the Department in 2010 and 2011.
Spraying of DDT also continued in the State since February 15 till July and fogging has also been done at places, said the Health Department sources.
In the meantime, children in the age group of 1 to 15 have been vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis infection in the 11 districts of Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Golaghat, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur, Kamrup, Nagaon and Udalguri. Routine immunization of the children who were below 1 year of age during the vaccination campaign in these 11 districts has also been done, sources said.
The vaccination programme is conducted by the Assam Government with the support from the Union Health Ministry�s Immunisation Wing, said the sources.
This time, the State Government has projected five more districts for vaccination during the current year. These districts include � Morigaon, Darrang, Nalbari, Barpeta and Goalpara, said the sources.
Since the adults are becoming vulnerable to Japanese Encephalitis infection, the Government of Assam is now considering immunisation programme for the adults on priority basis�according to the number of JE cases found in the districts. It is expected that by September next, vaccination of the adult persons against JE infection could be started.
The Government of Assam has set up eight laboratories to diagnose JE infection at the Assam Medical College, Jorhat Medical College, Gauhati Medical College, Lakhimpur Civil Hospital, Sivasagar Civil Hospital, Golaghat Civil Hospital, Tezpur Mission Hospital and at the Dibrugarh Lahowal-based Regional Medical Research Centre, sources said.
The better facilities for diagnosing JE infection and better treatment facilities for the patients suffering from JE infection have been providing scope for better planning to control the disease and the detection of so many cases is the result of all such facilities, said the sources.