Editorial

Four-pronged assault

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/1/2020 12:32:51 PM IST

 Assam faces its worst crisis with COVID-19 ravaging the state, heavy rains causing floods to spring up another attack in the form of Japanese Encephalitis while swine flu has caused deaths of thousands of pigs in several districts. The vector-borne disease- Japanese Encephalitis (JE)- is spread by culex mosquito and has so far, caused the deaths of nearly 200 in 29 out of the 33 districts of the state. Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is a serious public health problem in India. It is characterized as acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) and/or new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year. Japanese encephalitis (JE), a vector-borne viral disease, caused by a group B arbovirus (Flavivirus) and transmitted by Culicine mosquito. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is most widely caused by Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus and in particular, mostly affects those under-15. Japanese Encephalitis has been a perennial problem in the Northeast that affects the states during annual floods. In Assam now only Dina Hasao, Udalguri and Karbi Anglong districts have not reported a Japanese Encephalitis cases, rest 29 have. Kamrup (rural) adjoining Guwahati and Jorhat in Upper Assam are the worst-affected districts according to Assam health officials. AES due to JEV was clinically diagnosed in India for the first time in 1955 in the southern State of Madras, now Tamil Nadu. During 2018, 10,485 AES cases and 632 deaths were reported from 17 states to the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP) in India, with a case fatality rate around 6 per cent. AES cases were reported mainly from Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh. Assam health teams, observed that Japanese Encephalitis (JE) transmission is going on in the state but at the same time transmission of other pathogens was also observed.The outbreak of both the vector-borne diseases - JE and AES - is severe in June, July and August in the State. Around 20-30% affected patients lose their lives in Assam annually because of JE and AES. This year, most the deaths were reported in June and July. Just like other viral strains, AES spreads through contaminated surfaces. According to a health official, viruses such as enteroviruses may be contracted through contaminated water. Once infected the patient can infect more individuals through their secretions and saliva. Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is one of the most common types of disease prevalent in the country. Since the mosquitos breed the most during the onset and peak monsoon season , the cases tend to rise around this time. The syndrome can also be caused by severe dengue, measles or zika virus strain. Since the symptoms are hard to identify and control, if not treated in time, the disease turns fatal. With COVID-19 then swine flu and now AES and JE, Assam’s health authorities have their hands full. However, the floods have not made their jobs any easier. It is also time for the health authorities in Nagaland to take note and to sound a note of caution for public with regard to rearing of pigs near houses and to make available test kits for AES and JE before outbreak of the disease, which has already reached Karbi Anglong.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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