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Health Director allays JE apprehensions

IMPHAL, Jul 22: Health Director Dr O Ibomcha has categorically stated that people need not be panicky even though some positive cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) have been detected. All the people infected with JE have been undergoing treatment in isolation and all of them are out of danger,  O Ibomcha told media persons during a press meet at the office of the Health Directorate  today.

If any one is suffering from fever, headache, pain in the neck, muscle pain and is delirious, he/she should consult a doctor or go to a hospital/health centre, Dr Ibomcha said. Although the outbreak of JE in the State has not taken the proportion of any epidemic, people should take utmost care to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. JE is spread by a mosquito species known as Culex. There are four varieties of Culex mosquitoes. Out of them, Culex Tritaeniorhynchus  and Culex Vishnui are the two common species which are spreading JE in Manipur.

These varieties of Culex mosquitoes generally breed in stagnant water, specially in paddy fields. As such, people who work in paddy fields should take utmost care to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. If Culex mosquitoes which have bitten pigs and cranes bite a person, he/she may suffer from JE. Though chances are somewhat slimmer, Culex mosquitoes which have bitten ducks and goats may also spread JE as and when they bite a human being. Generally, the infection rate of JE is one in 301 which means when 301 persons are bitten by Culex mosquitoes, one may get infected by JE.

Almost 85 per cent of JE cases are detected in persons below 15 years while 15 per cent are confined to persons above 60 years. People with low immune system are more vulnerable to JE infections and people living near paddy fields and pig sties have more chances of being infected by JE.

The Health Director then appealed to all the people to separate pig sties from their houses by at least 300 metres if they are rearing pigs.He further advised farmers to use nets over the pens of pigs, ducks, goats etc if they are rearing these animals.Manipur recorded 200 cases of JE in 1995 and 50 people died due to lack of clinical management. The figure was 100 in 2010 and around 10 people died.There were nine positive cases of JE in 2015.

Although some people infected with JE could recover without much impact on one’s health, people infected with JE may get their brains damaged by almost 30 per cent. They may also suffer from partial paralysis, loss of consciousness and difficulty in speaking. For the current year, nine positive cases of JE have been detected so far and the figure may also rise. The exact figure can be ascertained after necessary laboratory tests of the blood samples collected by the department. There are adequate volume of reagent for carrying out the necessary laboratory tests. Rather than going to private laboratories, it is most appropriate to conduct blood sample tests at JNIMS. The State has its own protocol for carrying out extensive vaccination campaigns. Apart from carrying out vaccination campaigns, fogging has been done in all the areas located within a radius of one to two Kms of the places where JE cases have been confirmed.

Nearby health centres have also been directed to carry out anti-JE vaccination. The State has adequate stock of anti-JE vaccines, informed the Director. At present, there are 3000 numbers of anti-JE vaccine vials. One vial is enough for vaccinating five persons. Another consignment of 7500 vials would be arriving in the next couple of days. Veterinary Department has immense responsibilities in containing the outbreak of JE. The department need to vaccinate pigs.

Dr Ibomcha appealed to all the parents to vaccinate their children in time. Of the nine people infected by JE, one has been taken to Guwahati, while the others are undergoing treatment at JNIMS, RIMS and Mothers’ Care Children Hospital, Sagolband. The nine positive cases were reported from Lilong Haoreibi, Langthabal Lep Makha Leikai, Sagoltongba Mayai Leikai, Kwakeithel Mayai Koibi, Yairipok Changamdabi, Zion village of Chandel, Nongdam village of Ukhrul and New Lamka of Churachandpur. Earlier, an official team led by Health Minister DK Korungthang and Health Director O Ibomcha visited Komlathabi PHC and Aimol Tampak PHSC where they distributed anti-JE vaccines apart from supervising fogging done in the surrounding areas. Health Minister DK Korungthang too appealed to all the people not to be panicky about the outbreak of JE. He stated that the State Government has taken up all possible safety measures.



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