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�Vaccination drive must to prevent JE outbreak�

By Manash Pratim Dutta

GUWAHATI, July 3 - There is an urgent need in the State to cover the entire adult population under a vaccination drive to prevent the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis (JE), stated Dr Siraj A Khan, Scientist F of the ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), NE, Dibrugarh, during an interaction with The Assam Tribune.

Significantly, Assam accounts for 30 per cent of the country�s total JE cases.

According to senior officials of the State Health Department, around 60 per cent of the adult population, comprising 77, 10, 559 persons, was covered under a vaccination drive carried out last year, which was discontinued due to some �social stigma.� After the recent outbreak of the disease, the RMRC is going to carry out a two-month ground investigation in Dibrugarh and Sivasagar districts to find out the actual coverage of adult vaccination to prevent the dreaded disease.

�In the study, if we find that more than 50 per cent people have been left out of vaccination, we will recommend to the concerned authorities to carry out another vaccination drive,� Dr Khan said.

In Assam, the Health Department has carried out the adult vaccination drive to prevent JE in a campaign mode where many people were left out of coverage. According to Dr Khan, those left out people are mainly from the working population and students who stay outside their home places.

Again, a lack of mass awareness and the prevailing social stigma has also hampered the campaign.

Dr Khan, however, added that after the vaccination drive began, JE cases have been showing a declining trend in the State.

Earlier, around 11 positive JE cases were detected per lakh population, but now the trend has reduced to 5 cases per lakh population, he added.

�In the case of Assam, a ground-level study is an urgent need for non-JE Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) disease, as most of the fatalities reported from encephalitis fall under this category. It is noteworthy that except for JE, other AES diseases are treatable. But in the case of JE, only preventive measures are available with us,� Dr Khan asserted.

He further stated that in Assam, there was also a need to develop the disease diagnosis system to prevent an AES outbreak. �To detect the exact disease in the case of an AES patient, there is a need for up-to-date laboratory facility. In Assam, such a diagnosis facility is available only at the RMRC. But unfortunately, all blood samples of AES patients do not come to our lab. If such a facility becomes available in every district, then death cases will also decrease,� he added.

In Assam, large-scale pig farming in every part of the State is also major reason behind the massive outbreak of JE. Dr Khan asserted that the use of nets in every pig farm of the State during night hours could control the disease to a large extent.

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�Vaccination drive must to prevent JE outbreak�

GUWAHATI, July 3 - There is an urgent need in the State to cover the entire adult population under a vaccination drive to prevent the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis (JE), stated Dr Siraj A Khan, Scientist F of the ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), NE, Dibrugarh, during an interaction with The Assam Tribune.

Significantly, Assam accounts for 30 per cent of the country�s total JE cases.

According to senior officials of the State Health Department, around 60 per cent of the adult population, comprising 77, 10, 559 persons, was covered under a vaccination drive carried out last year, which was discontinued due to some �social stigma.� After the recent outbreak of the disease, the RMRC is going to carry out a two-month ground investigation in Dibrugarh and Sivasagar districts to find out the actual coverage of adult vaccination to prevent the dreaded disease.

�In the study, if we find that more than 50 per cent people have been left out of vaccination, we will recommend to the concerned authorities to carry out another vaccination drive,� Dr Khan said.

In Assam, the Health Department has carried out the adult vaccination drive to prevent JE in a campaign mode where many people were left out of coverage. According to Dr Khan, those left out people are mainly from the working population and students who stay outside their home places.

Again, a lack of mass awareness and the prevailing social stigma has also hampered the campaign.

Dr Khan, however, added that after the vaccination drive began, JE cases have been showing a declining trend in the State.

Earlier, around 11 positive JE cases were detected per lakh population, but now the trend has reduced to 5 cases per lakh population, he added.

�In the case of Assam, a ground-level study is an urgent need for non-JE Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) disease, as most of the fatalities reported from encephalitis fall under this category. It is noteworthy that except for JE, other AES diseases are treatable. But in the case of JE, only preventive measures are available with us,� Dr Khan asserted.

He further stated that in Assam, there was also a need to develop the disease diagnosis system to prevent an AES outbreak. �To detect the exact disease in the case of an AES patient, there is a need for up-to-date laboratory facility. In Assam, such a diagnosis facility is available only at the RMRC. But unfortunately, all blood samples of AES patients do not come to our lab. If such a facility becomes available in every district, then death cases will also decrease,� he added.

In Assam, large-scale pig farming in every part of the State is also major reason behind the massive outbreak of JE. Dr Khan asserted that the use of nets in every pig farm of the State during night hours could control the disease to a large extent.

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