HAILAKANDI, July 4 - Health authorities in Hailakandi are on the alert following detection of three cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and two cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)
Monika Das, district media expert of the National Health Mission in Hailakandi, said that the three patients have been referred to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, where they are undergoing treatment.
With the outbreak of JE in neighbouring Karimganj district claiming the lives of five persons, a comprehensive action plan has been drawn up by the health authorities here to tackle the outbreak. Awareness meetings, fogging in vulnerable areas and other measures are being taken to deal with the vector-borne disease. Das said insecticide-treated bed net (ITBN) camps are going on in Katlicherra, Lala, Algapur and Sarojini block primary health centres, coupled with awareness meetings in schools and health sub-centres across the district.
The health authorities have asked the people to immediately shift any person affected by prolonged high fever, severe headache or nausea, vomiting, shivering, mental status changes and disorientation to the nearest health centre.
People have been advised to use mosquito nets or insect repellents and wear full-sleeve shirts, and long pants.
Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli, who also heads the district task force, is closely monitoring the situation and has asked the health officials to remain alert on any JE outbreak and adopt necessary preventive measures.
Jalli apprised the Principal Secretary (Health) about the situation via a video conference on Wednesday in which the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Health), Joint Director, Health Services, and Chief Medical and Health Officer were present.
The disease is an infection of the brain caused by the Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV). While most infections result in little or no symptoms, occasional inflammation of the brain occurs. Symptoms may include headache, vomiting, fever, confusion and seizures. This occurs about 5-15 days after the infection.
JEV is generally spread by mosquitoes, specifically those of the Culex type. Pigs and wild birds serve as a reservoir for the virus. Prevention is generally with the vaccine, which is both safe and effective. Other measures include avoiding mosquito bites. Once infected, there is no specific treatment, with care being supportive. The disease occurs in Southeast Asia and Western Pacific. About three billion people live in areas where the disease occurs. About 68,000 symptomatic cases occur a year with about 17,000 deaths.