Chennai: The backward districts of Tamil Nadu including Villupuram, Cuddalore and Perambalur continue to be in the danger zone due to prevalence of Japanese Encephalitis (JE). Tamil Nadu may not be witnessing an outbreak but 12 districts in Tamil Nadu remain endemic to JE as per National Health Mission report.
The state remains vulnerable to the disease as rising mosquito menace will trigger an increase in vector borne diseases including Dengue, Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis and Encephalitis Syndrome. Culex is the JE causing vector.
The infection is most likely to spread in the months of August, September and October. As per National Vector Borne diseases control programme records, 22 cases of JE and 659 cases of AES have been reported until Aug 20 this year. Around ten new cases of JE and 50 new cases of AES have been reported in last one month.
Data shows a surge on a yearly basis as the numbers of cases this year have outnumbered total number of 346 cases of AES witnessed in 2014.
The total number of cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), reported in 2015 and 2016 were 847 and 859 respectively.
As per a study conducted in Tamil Nadu by Indian Journal of Medical Research on Japanese Encephalitis in Tamil Nadu, paediatric population is highly implicated to the disease. “Culex mosquito mostly breeds in paddy fields and so paddy field workers remain more prone to JE.
A large numbers of children also get affected as they easily catch the infection. Though the situation is under control, most cases are witnessed in the districts of Cuddalore, Villupuram, and Perambalur,” said Dr P Shankar, microbiologist, Villupuram Medical College.
When contacted, public health director said that major steps such as cleanliness campaign, vector control program and efficient surveillance were in place against JE.
“Vaccination against JE is being carried since 2013 after Union health ministry launched a mass vaccination drive in selected districts in TN including Tiruvallur, Villupuram and Perambalur, Madurai and Virudhunagar, for all children aged between 1-15,” said Dr K Kolandaisamy, public health director.
He added that immunisation control units in various districts are being monitored in Chennai to carry out JE vector control activities.Medical college hospitals and district headquarters hospitals are reporting the cases witnessed.
Though health department officials say that JE and AES prevalence is not alarming, medicos warn against JE vectors and emphasise on its prevention.
“Mosquito bites should be avoided mostly as they are the primary vectors of many infectious diseases. Insect repellents should be used when outdoors, and long-sleeved clothing should be preferred. As mosquitoes transmit JE virus mainly during cooler hours in day time, bed nets should be used,” said Dr Janardan Dixit, a renowned paediatrician....