|Encephalitis claims 29 lives in State|
GUWAHATI, July 16 – The Japanese encephalitis (JE)-related death toll in the State has shot up to 29. The number of persons affected by this mosquito-borne disease, which is yet to have a curative treatment, has also shot up to 224 in the State.
Sources in the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) unit of the State Health Directorate told this newspaper that this time the lower Assam districts of Barpeta, Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), Nalbari and Darrang are mainly affected by the disease unlike in the previous years, when the upper Assam districts of Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat were mainly affected by it.
Though the number of confirmed cases of JE is growing at present, it is expected that the number of such cases will decline by mid-August. Last year, there were 193 confirmed JE cases till July 15. Of them, 41 died. But this year, 29 persons were killed by the disease till July 15, sources said, adding, the percentage of death this time is 40 per cent less compared to that last year.
Preventive vaccination has resulted in significant reduction in the cases of JE in the upper Assam districts. The Health Department will undertake vaccination programmes in nine lower Assam districts by September next and in a phased manner the entire State would be covered under the vaccination programme within the current year, sources said.
Meanwhile, fogging operations are undertaken regularly in the affected areas, besides public awareness programmes, sources said.