GUWAHATI, Aug 29 - Altogether 428 cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) have been reported across the State till date this year and among them altogether 88 persons have died. Dibrugarh and Sonitpur districts have reported 14 deaths each, while Kamrup district is in the second spot with 10 deaths.
Interestingly, in the early part of the year, scientists at the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Dibrugarh, had issued an alert regarding high incidence of JE this year in four districts of Assam, namely Sivasagar, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Jorhat.
In Sivasagar 34 JE cases have been reported till date and among them eight have died. In Dibrugarh among the 93 JE cases reported, 14 have died. In Tinsukia one person died from among 14 JE cases that have been reported till date. In Jorhat, six deaths were reported from among 27 cases.
This year, as opposed to the prediction made by RMRC Dibrugarh, Kamrup district has shown a drastic increase in the total number of JE deaths, said Umesh Phangso, State Programme Officer of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme.
�Last year, JE cases in Kamrup district were very low. But this year we have seen a drastic change in the scenario in the district. Same is the case with Sonitpur district. The main reason behind the change of scenario is climate change followed by change of the disease pattern. Again, lack of public awareness also plays a vital role,� he said.
�We had made the prediction of JE prevalence in four districts after studying the data of the past 20 years. JE is comparatively new for districts like Kamrup and Sonitpur. So we did not find JE prevalence in those districts. But across the State, after the start of the vaccination drive in 2014, the mortality rate has gone down drastically,� RMRC scientist S Khan said.
In 2017, around 14 per cent mortality rate was reported in Assam and Phangso said prevention through vaccination is the only way of treatment for this disease.
�We are aiming at 100 per cent JE vaccination in Assam. The vaccination process is divided into two parts � minor vaccination and adult vaccination. Minor vaccination is administered twice, once when the baby is nine months old, and then when the baby is between 16 and 24 months of age. Adult vaccination is administered to persons from 15 to 65 years of age. We get very good results from minor vaccination. But public participation is very low in adult vaccination,� Phangso said.