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After West Bengal, now Arunachal Pradesh sounds high alert after encephalitis death

Saturday, 26 July 2014 - 3:08pm IST | Place: Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) | Agency: PTI

Arunachal Pradesh has sounded a high alert following the death of a 10-year-old girl and reports of 11 other persons being affected by Japanese Encephalitis in the state. Kiran Raji, a 10-year-old girl of Sippi village in Upper Subansiri district, who was admitted to Arunachal State Hospital here died on Thursday, state Epidemiologist Dr L Jampa told PTI today.

The other affected persons include children in the age group of 1 to 14 years besides an 18-year-old teenager, he said in a statement. They were undergoing treatment at the Arunachal State Hospital since last week, while two cases being treated in Guwahati Medical College Hospital in Assam were reportedly improving, he said.

Anticipating similar cases associated with convulsions, seizures, rigidity and also loss of consciousness, the state health department has geared up its surveillance mechanism besides initiating testing facility at the ASH. Delhi-based National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP)'s central division has been requested to provide sufficient JE-virus testing kits to the state urgently and the RMRS- ICMR at Dibrugarh has been requested to assist in the laboratory testing and confirmation of the JE-infection, Dr Jampa said.

Four cases have been tested positive for the JE virus in ASH laboratory of which one had also been confirmed as positive JEV by RMRC, Dibrugarh, the statement said. Health & Family Welfare Minister Kalikho Pul has appealed to the civil society to remain alert to prevent the spread of the disease by following the do's suggested by the department. He said preventing the virus form breeding in stagnated water sources could go a long way in averting the disease. Ten Encephalitis cases was reported for the first time in the state in 2010 while 14 cases, all from Assam, were reported at Rama Krishna Mission Hospital here between June to August last year.

Encephalitis deaths have crossed 100 in West Bengal according to ground officials, while the government figure has put it at 74 in West Bengal.

Preventive measures

The preventive measures are simple and similar to that of malaria and other vector borne diseases since the vector for JE virus is the 'culicine-mosquito’ which breeds in stagnant water in drainage and paddy fields.

The suggested do's for its prevention and control are reduction of breeding source for mosquito larvae by eliminating water logging and stagnation around households and environment, sleeping inside mosquito bed nets, disposing household wastes and garbage in identified places properly and consulting nearest health centres and hospitals for any acute onset of fever associated with abnormal behaviour, change in mental status (confusion), fits and rigidity to rule out Encephalitis infection, the statement said.

The JE virus is also transmitted by mosquitoes to pigs/poultry birds. Man gets infected either from birds or pigs/poultry birds through mosquito bite. Japanese encephalitis previously known as Japanese B encephalitis to distinguish it from von Econom's A encephalitis—is a disease caused by the mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus from the family Flaviviridae and was first isolated in the world in Japan in 1933.

Domestic pigs and wild birds (herons) are reservoirs of the virus, transmission to humans may cause severe symptoms, the statement said. Amongst the most important vectors of this disease are the mosquitoes Culex tritaeniorhynchus and Culex vishnui.




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