Editorial

Strategy on diseases

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/9/2020 1:09:09 PM IST

 Alongside the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic, the state of Assam including other states in the north east are currently faced with other major problems like floods, landslides, and erosion. To make matters worse, the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) season has been reported in Assam and a few other states, putting the healthcare infrastructure of the states under severe pressure. The issue of climate change has surfaced as a new threat and challenge for ongoing efforts to contain vector-borne diseases. Mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria, Japanese encephalitis (JE), lymphatic filariasis and dengue, are major public health concerns in the north-east, deterring equitable socioeconomic and industrial development. Among these, malaria and JE are the predominant infections and are spread across the region.Among some common vector-borne diseases apart from the Japanese Encephalitis disease is Chikungunya, Dengue, Rift Valley fever, Yellow fever, Zika Virus, and West Nile fever which are all viral diseases whereas Lymphatic filariasis and Malaria are parasitic infections. Japanese Encephalitis is a viral disease that affects the Central Nervous system and is transmitted by infective bites of female Culex mosquitoes. Symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis include headache, fever, meningeal signs, disorientation, coma, tremors, paralysis, hypertonia, loss of coordination, etc.Japanese Encephalitis has a 14% mortality rate which is 60 times higher than COVID-19 and its natural hosts are water birds like herons and egrets. This viral disease is a perennial problem in the northeast along with annual floods. Around 30,000 to 50,000 cases of JE are reported each year from Asia. This disease cannot be transmitted from one person to another meaning it is not contagious. Despite outbreak and threat of vector-borne diseases, which have been widely reported in the national media and also getting nearer to Nagaland, there is need to be alert especially during end of September to October. Dimapur’s perennial problem of stagnant water in clogged drains continue to provide the best conditions that help spread of mosquitoes. It may be noted that districts in different parts of Assam have so far reported 14 cases of dengue and 79 cases of acute encephalitis syndrome during the past weeks, according to NHM State director Lakshmanan S. A major worry for the Animal Husbandry department is preventing African swine fever (ASF) which has so far claimed more than 17,000 pigs across 10 districts, including Lakhimpur where the flood has affected 105 hectares of cropland while a bridge collapsed and river embankment breached. In recent years, there is evidence that mutations of virus have become more common. Like malarial causing Anopheles mosquito, which has gradually mutated to develop resistance to anti-malaria pesticides, there are also fears that a gene mutation of the dengue virus may be taking place. In 2003, researchers identified eight mutations in dengue virus type 4. Mosquitoes infected by the virus spread this zoonotic disease to humans. Mosquitoes that spread this disease usually bite during dawn and dusk and human beings are accidental hosts and dead-end of the chain. Medical authorities in the north east need to focus on the possibility of travellers carrying the virus causing various diseases coming from states where the outbreak has been reported. The pandemic has rung an alarm bell for health authorities in the region, to join hands in doing ground research on various virus and other vector borne diseases so as to evolve an effective and common strategy.

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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