MANGALDAI, July 25 - Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) recently turned deadly in Darrang district claiming five lives as per the report of the Health Department.
There is every possibility of increase in the toll in the days to come as the District Health Department has to rely heavily on the reports of the GMCH and a few private health institutions in Guwahati where the JE positive patients can be properly diagnosed and treated.
On Wednesday last, the report of death of one Tanbir Alam Khurshid (16), a resident of ward no-2, Mangaldai town due to JE was received. The victim was reportedly undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Guwahati. According to Shyam Barua, District Malaria Officer (DMO), Darrang, two more cases of JE casualties have already been recorded in the district during the last week. Apart from these three death cases of JE , two other persons also lost their lives in the district recently from diseases with AES.
Moreover, according to the DMO, three more persons have also been diagnosed as JE positive while 11 others have been diagnosed with AES. Meanwhile, the District Health Department has conducted public awareness programmes in the affected areas in addition to carrying out fogging as a part of preventive measures. However, the Department allegedly arises from its deep slumber only when there are reports of casualties from the disease. The department has been running a special branch called the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) under a District Surveillance Officer (DSO) to make necessary plans and execute it, so that such diseases are checked well before they claims lives but the Department is seems is least concerned with the proper functioning of this branch. According to the sources in the Health Department, the functioning of this branch is confined only in preparation of reports.
It may be recalled here that last year the there were 14 JE positive cases and out of them seven lost their lives. Surprisingly, JE has been claiming lives in the district regularly each year even after the Health Department carried out two rounds of JE vaccination drives separately for children and adults, a couple of years back reportedly with more than 90 per cent average achievement.