BHUBANESWAR: With Gorakhpur hospital tragedy bringing the spotlight back on encephalitis, the Centre has sought status of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) incidences in the State.Sources said the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project was asked by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for latest information on incidences from across the country. This year, Odisha ranks fourth in terms of AES deaths and fifth on AES incidences.
By August 8, the State has recorded 10 deaths. Uttar Pradesh (127), Assam (126), West Bengal (74) and Bihar (27) have recorded more deaths. As many as 473 AES cases have already been recorded this year while 13 JE positive cases have been detected. However, no JE death has been reported as yet.
Last year though, the State had grabbed headlines after it recorded 115 AES and 42 JE deaths, mostly children, while Malkangiri had emerged as the epicentre of the outbreak. As many as 1,096 persons had been affected by AES while 242 had contracted the virus for which mosquitoes are a carrier. Under criticism for its inept handling of the JE outbreak, the State Government had requested the Centre for vaccination which was carried out in Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur and Keonjhar. This year, the State Government has asked for vaccination coverage in 11 districts and the Centre has agreed to it. However, acute shortage of the vaccines, which is procured from China, has posed a problem.
The Regional Medical Research Centre, an arm of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), has decided to conduct a three-year research on post-vaccination scenario in Malkangiri to analyse how the exercise has impacted and if recurrence has been reported among the vaccinated population. Children in the age-group of 1-15 had been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, swine flu has continued to spread its net with 16 more samples testing positive on Sunday. As many as 28 nasopharyngeal samples had been sent to RMRC for investigation. So far, 370 samples have been tested of which 119 tested positive with eight deaths in the State.