GUWAHATI: Even as measures have been taken up, JE (Japanese Encephalitis) and AES (Acute Encephalitis Syndrome) have claimed 220 lives in the State from January to July 19, 2019. While Japanese Encephalitis has claimed 101 lives, AES has claimed 119 lives during the period when as many as 439 JE cases and 1,569 AES cases have been detected.
According to State Health Department sources, June-July is the peack period for JE and AES, and these two vector-borne diseases start declining from August. What’s significant is that this year JE and AES have touched almost all the districts in the State, in varying proportions although.
Measures taken up from the government side have restricted the death toll from going up much higher. The system of paying up to Rs 1 lakh for patients kept in ICUs (intensive care units), in private hospitals, according to official sources, has helped much in controlling the two vector-borne diseases. This is because, while government hospitals and medical colleges have fewer ICUs, private hospitals have more.
Sources in the department said that there is no room for complacency. They say that surveillance workers are still working and all other top officials are alert. ADC (health), Joint Director (health) and district medical officers are still visiting district hospitals daily and sending reports to the government on a daily basis.
Surveillance people are working round the clock at the field level, collecting blood samples and fogging where necessary. Till July 6 this year around 12 lakh blood samples were collected in the State. As an incentive to such workers, the department is going to pay Rs 5 per blood sample collected.
Meanwhile, the department has decided to carry out adult vaccination drive from September this year. The major problem, according to departmental sources, is that India doesn’t produce adult vaccination for vector-borne diseases. Only China is manufacturing adult vaccination for Japanese Encephalitis. Sources in the department said that they have been keeping in touch with the Centre to take up the matter with China so as to ensure supply of the vaccination.
From 2010 to 2018 JE death in the State is around 960. This shows that JE continues to wreak havoc every year in this season. It seems, the State Health Department has not been able to tame the vector-borne disease.