Dr Harsh Vardhan dispatches a Central Team to Review Japanese Encephalitis (JE) situation in Assam

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In view of the recent reported Japanese Encephalitis (JE) cases in Assam, Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday dispatched a central team to review the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) situation in the State. He has directed the Ministry to extend all support and assistance to the State government.

“I am closely monitoring the situation. The Health Ministry is coordinating with the Government of Assam for prevention and management of JE to ensure that the cases don’t rise in the state”, Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

Dr Harsh Vardhan further stated that the Union Health Ministry is providing all logistical and technical support to the Assam Government in terms of surveillance and diagnostic kits to strengthen their efforts in addressing JE.

Noting that community participation and empowerment are the most crucial areas in JE prevention, Dr Harsh Vardhan urged all the stakeholders to start rigorous awareness campaigns regarding the preventive steps to be taken by the communities.

The central team is headed by Sanjeeva Kumar, Additional Secretary, Mo HFW and is accompanied by the senior officers from National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, New Delhi. As per the directions of the Union Health Minister the team will reach the state by today evening to review the situation.

The Union Health Ministry has given the following support to Assam state for effective prevention and control of JE:

  • All 27 districts of Assam have been covered under JE vaccination campaign (for 1-15 yrs.) followed by Routine Immunization as part of Immunization Programme.
  • Ten high endemic districts of Assam (Shivsagar Barpeta, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Darrang, Udalguri, Bongaigaon, Cachar, Morigaon, Nalbari) have been included under the multipronged strategy for prevention and control of JE. These districts have also been covered under adult JE vaccination campaign.
  • Out of 10 high burdened districts, funds have been provided for establishment of 7 Pediatric ICU (PICU). Of these, 4 PICUs have been made functional.
  • For the diagnosis of JE, till date 28 Sentinel Surveillance Hospitals have been identified and MoHFW is providing diagnostic kits to the State free of cost.
  • For rehabilitation of JE disabled patients, Central Government has provided funds for strengthening of 2 Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PMR) departments at Dibrugarh Medical College and Guwahati Medical College.

Japanese Encephalitis is vector-borne encephalitis transmitted by Culex groups of mosquitoes. These mosquitoes breed mainly in rice fields and large water bodies rich in aquatic vegetations. Migratory birds along with pigs in the community play an important role in the transmission of JE from one area to other areas.