Japanese encephalitis: Health ministry rushing expert team to Assam

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) The union health ministry is rushing an expert team to Assam following an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in the state, it was announced on Saturday.

Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda held a review meeting of ministry officials over the issue and directed the director general of health services to immediately rush a team of experts to Assam to assist and advise the state health authorities in clinical management of the cases, according to an official statement issued here.

“All the necessary assistance is being provided to the state of Assam to handle this outbreak effectively,” Nadda said.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and whatever additional help is required would be provided with immediate effect.”

According to Nadda, ministry officials were in regular touch with the state health authorities.

“Sufficient number of testing kits have already been provided to the state,” he said.

The additional director of the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme is camping in Assam since July 22.

According to the statement, the ministry has already sanctioned funds for establishment of three paediatric intensive care units (ICUs) in district hospitals in Sivasagar, Golaghat and Lakhimpur and the health minister has advised the state government to operationalise these ICUs immediately.

In all, 365 Japanese encephalitis positive cases and 66 deaths have been reported from Assam so far this year.

More deaths have been reported from the upper Assam districts of Sivasagar (9), Dibrugarh (7), Jorhat (7) and Golaghat (4).

During the review meeting, it was also learnt that the majority of the victims were adults.

Twelve districts of Assam, including Sivasagar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Golaghat have been covered under the adult vaccination campaign.

All the districts of the state have also been covered under the child (one to 15 years) vaccination campaign and routine immunisation programme.

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