214 deaths due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in Assam: Choubey

New Delhi | As many as 214 deaths due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) were reported in Assam till July 18 this year, Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Responding to a question over what measures were initiated by the Centre to address the outbreak, the minister said the central teams have visited Assam between June 30-July 1 and July 8-10 to review the situation and provide technical assistance to the state.

“The teams observed that Japanese Encephalitis (JE) transmission is going on in the state but at the same time transmission of other pathogens like scrub typhus, leptospirosis is also observed.

“The state health authorities have already taken large number of actions to tackle the problem. However, issues related to over suspicion of AES and over diagnosis of JE, testing algorithm, treatment protocol and vector management were observed and state and District Health Authorities were advised accordingly,” Choubey said in his reply.

On the logistic and technical support extended to the state government to tackle the situation, the minister said there are 28 sentinel site hospitals and 1 apex referral laboratory identified for which 143 Japanese Encephalitis (JE) IgM ELISA kits have been supplied till July 18.

The funds have been provided for establishment of 10 bedded pediatric ICUs (PICUs) for 8 of 10 high endemic districts. Four PICUs are functional till date, Choubey said.

Funds have been provided for strengthening of two Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) Departments in Assam’s two districts, he said.

All 27 endemic districts have been covered under JE vaccination campaign as part of routine immunization (RI) while nine districts have been covered under adult JE vaccination and additional adult JE vaccination as a state initiative, he added.

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