Encephalitis toll in Assam rises to 10, govt dispatches team to review situation



Union Health Ministry has dispatched a central team to Assam after 10 deaths were reported in the state this year due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES). The team comprises senior officers from the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, New Delhi and is headed by Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Sanjeeva Kumar. According to the latest reports, 10 deaths have been recorded due to the disease in Assam so far. Union health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has instructed the ministry to extend all possible assistance to the state government. The Union health minister is also monitoring the entire situation personally. The ministry is also providing all technical and logistical support to the Assam government in terms of surveillance and diagnostic kits to combat the disease. The health minister has also asked all the stakeholders to start an awareness campaign to prevent the spread of vector-borne disease. According to The Indian Express, doctors in Guwahati have claimed that the vaccination for JE (Japanese Encephalitis) has brought down the number of patients over the years. The report also stated that there has been a decline in the number of deaths – from 100 in 2012 to 58 in 2017. The acute encephalitis syndrome outbreak hit Bihar in June and has already claimed the lives of over 150 children. Muzaffarpur district has been the worst hit reporting more than 120 Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is a very complex disease as it can be caused by various agents including bacteria, fungi or virus. On Sunday, former Union Minister and RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha slammed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for failing to control the AES outbreak. Kushwaha also stated that he will take out a padayatra from Muzaffarpur on July 2, 2019, which will conclude at Patna on July 6. RLSP along with RJD and HAM has also demanded the immediate resignation of state health minister Mangal Pandey. The issue was also raised in both houses of Bihar legislature on Friday followed by demonstrations by oppositions.

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