7th Jul 2019 11:07:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Assam’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday has given an official statement that 190 positive cases of Japanese Encephalitis(JE) have been reported and 49 people have died of the vector-borne disease in the state since January last. The situation is serious since almost all districts are currently under its influence. Although no JE case has been reported from anywhere in Arunachal Pradesh as of now and there is nothing to panic, it will be sensible to take pre-emptive precautionary measures and make adequate preparations as the state is an immediate neighbour of Assam and there is also a past history of its occurrence.

Japanese Encephalitis along with Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is a group of clinically similar neurologic manifestations which results in lethal brain fever that predominantly affects population below 15 years and the outbreak of JE is usually noticed during monsoon and post monsoon periods when density of mosquitoes increases.High fever, headache, stiffness of neck, disorientation and seizures are some of the symptoms of JE which is a vector-borne encephalitis transmitted by Culex group of mosquitoes which breed mainly in rice fields and large water bodies rich in aquatic vegetation. Assam has seen regular outbreaks of JE causing large number of deaths in recent years since it is an ecologically favourable region with heavy rainfall and pig farming almost throughout the state.

AES and JE, individually or combinedly are serious public health problems in India most commonly affecting children and young adults and that they can create large scale panic and havoc is evident from the Muzaffarpur case of Bihar where death toll of children has already crossed 100 and many more under treatment still not out of danger. Not only Bihar, AES is a regular visitor to many states especially during monsoon and during the last five years starting from 2014 till 2018, above 47000 cases have been reported with more than 5000 deaths in the country. It is still really baffling for the doctors and medical researchers as more than 100 different types of viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi can cause AES symptoms and 50 per cent of the cases are caused by ‘unknown’ agents and 90 per cent have no specific treatment. With such a tight situation, ‘prevention is better than cure’ is the suggestion that is flowing in from the medical fraternity with a call to intensify fight against mosquitoes.

It is not that AES or JE are impregnable and there are many success stories in many states where they have been tamed before going out of proportions. All efforts including medical, administrative and community participation with rigorous awareness campaigns regarding preventive steps must be undertaken without delays in the state.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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