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Encephalitis Claims Over 20 Lives in Assam, Central Team Holds Review Meeting in Guwahati

Encephalitis Claims Over 20 Lives in Assam, Central Team Holds Review Meeting in Guwahati

6 persons died in Jorhat district, of which two are children aged four and seven years.

Guwahati: The death toll due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Assam has mounted to 21 across 15 districts, according to reports. Five people died of JE in Dibrugarh district, while six others who had tested JE positive died in Jorhat. In the past 48 hours, two deaths were reported from Karimganj district.

Officials said 69 JE positive cases have been detected in the state so far.

On Sunday, a 15-year-old girl from Pathsala in Barpeta district died of JE at the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital(GMCH). A four-month-old baby from Golaghat district is undergoing treatment at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) after being diagnosed with the disease.

Six persons died of Japanese Encephalitis within a fortnight in Jorhat. According to the district administration, a total of nine JE positive cases were detected in Jorhat, of which 3 people have recovered.

“We are conducting awareness camps and fogging exercises since January. Whenever a case is detected, fogging is carried out within 100 metre radius of the area. Six persons have died in Jorhat, of which two were children aged four and seven years,” said Dr Amrit Saikia, Joint Director of Health and Family Welfare, Jorhat.

At the JMCH, where the patients are also admitted from adjoining districts, five AES and JE deaths were reported in the pediatric department.

“Last month, 28 AES cases were registered at the hospital, out of which 13 were JE positive. So far, of the 10 patients admitted at JMCH, seven are undergoing treatment in the pediatric ward. Four of them are JE positive. The state health department has taken all steps, and I believe there shouldn’t be a rise in such cases,” said Dr Saurabh Borkotoki, Superintendent, JMCH.

Other cases have been reported from Tezpur, Kamrup Rural and Nagaon districts.

In 2018, 66 JE deaths were reported from Assam, while 165 people died in 2014, 160 in 2015 and 119 in 2017.

Meanwhile, a review meeting was held at the National Health Mission (NHM) office in Guwahati on Monday that was presided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Additional Secretary Sanjeeva Kumar. Senior officers from the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, New Delhi and state health department officials were also present at the meeting. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday dispatched a central team to review the situation in Assam in view of the recently reported cases, and also directed the ministry to extend all support and assistance to the state government.