New Delhi: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday dispatched a central team to review the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) situation in view of recently reported cases in Assam and also 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 Assam government for the prevention and management of JE to ensure that the cases don't rise in the state," the Union Minister said in a statement.
He also said 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 dealing with the JE in the state.
Noting that community participation and empowerment are the most crucial to the prevention of JE, Dr Vardhan has urged all the stakeholders to start rigorous awareness campaigns regarding the preventive steps to be taken by the communities.
The Central team, likely to reach Assam this evening, is headed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Additional Secretary Sanjeeva Kumar and is accompanied by the senior officers from the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme in New Delhi.
All 27 districts of Assam have been covered under the JE vaccination campaign (for 1-15 years) followed by the routine immunization as part of the Immunization Programme.
Ten high endemic districts of Assam -- Shivsagar Barpeta, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Darrang, Udalguri, Bongaigaon, Cachar, Morigaon, and Nalbari -- have been included under the multipronged strategy for the 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 the establishment of seven Pediatric ICUs (PICUs). Of these, four PICUs have been made functional.
For the diagnosis of the disease, till date 28 Sentinel Surveillance Hospitals have been identified and the Union Health Ministry is providing diagnostic kits to Assam free of cost, said the statement.
For rehabilitation of JE disabled patients, the Centre has provided funds for the strengthening of two Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) departments at Dibrugarh Medical College and Guwahati Medical College.
JE 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.