BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has rushed a team from MKCG Medical College and Hospital at Berhampur to Malkangiri to treat children affected with Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE).
The diseases, which spread through mosquito bites, have claimed 16 lives, all children aged between two and seven, in the last 17 days in the tribal dominated district. Of the 16, 63 per cent of cases are males.
The four-member medical team comprising a pediatrician, anaesthetist and two staff nurses trained in critical care has been asked to camp there for at least one week. The deployment may get extended in the view of emerging situation.
Director of Health Services Dr Kailash Chandra Dash, who visited the district, said medical relief centres have been set up in affected areas and all control measures including fogging for vector control, larvicidal application, daily fever surveillance for early detection of cases and arrangement of referral facility for immediate shifting of critical cases have also been undertaken.
The deaths have been reported from Manasa, Goreiguda, Baliapari, Koimetla, Sangel, Anlaguda, Palkonda, Sindhiguda, Siadimal, Chitapari, Golaguda and Kopeguda villages under Malkangiri, Kalimela, Korukonda, Podia and Kudumuluguma blocks.
In most cases, condition of children deteriorated rapidly and few of them died on way to MKCGMCH. So far, 21 cases of AES positive and five cases of JE positive have been found from 12 villages.
CDMOs of Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Nuapada and Balangir have been asked to provide equipment to Malkangiri DHH for emergency case management.
While a State team comprising DD (IDSP), DD (NVBDCP), entomologist and insect collector has visited the affected areas, a veterinary team has collected 23 pig serum samples and sent these to Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI), Phulnakhara for virus isolation.
Dash observed that there is large pig population in all the affected villages which are surrounded by paddy fields, ditches, pools, ponds and tube well pits. Since these sources are favourable for JE vector mosquito breeding, steps are being taken for source reduction, he said.
Since 2012, suspected AES cases and deaths including a few JE positive cases have been reported in Malkangiri. In 2012, 54 positive cases were reported and 39 children died. Though 11 positive cases were found in 2014, no death was reported.
JE vector mosquito of Culex vishnui family bites humans during evening and there is no human-to-human or human-mosquito-human transmission. It spreads through mosquito from infected pig.
Malkangiri has been included for JE vaccination along with Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Jajpur districts following the outbreak in 2012. But during active transmission period, JE vaccination is not recommended, Dash added.