Sharp fall in encephalitis cases in UP this year

Uttar Pradesh has seen a drastic fall in cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) this year, thanks to the concerted efforts of six state government departments, UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh said on Thursday.

There has been a sharp decline in AES cases this year compared to the number of patients admitted to the BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur with the disease last year, he said.

“A total of 1,427 AES and JE cases were reported till August 9, 2018 in the state which led to 111 deaths,” the health minister said.Singh said over 5,400 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome and Japanese Encephalitis were reported in the state in 2017, leading to 748 deaths, compared to 4,353 such cases and 715 deaths in 2016.

According to the official figures, AES continued to be a bigger killer than JE in the northern state.

The minister said among the 111 deaths so far this year, 108 were due to AES and three due to JE.

Nearly 90 per cent of encephalitis cases and deaths in 2016 and 2017 were also attributed to AES.

Singh said the massive success in controlling the outbreak of the vector-borne disease was due to a planned strategy of the state government which had started its work well in advance.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had also launched the ‘Dastak’ campaign against Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in collaboration with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

“Encephalitis affects children up to 15 years of age. This is our commitment to protect them from this deadly disease so that these children too can play an active role in nation building,” he had noted.

As many as 38 districts of the northern state have been affected by the deadly disease.

The state health department was made the nodal agency to combat the disease with other departments like Urban Development, Panchayati Raj, Women and Child Welfare, Rural Development, Medical Education, Animal Husbandry and basic education, working under it.

Detailing the various steps taken by the BJP-led state government to tackle the deadly disease, Singh said a detailed programme was prepared to combat encephalitis as part of which vaccination work was completed by March-April 2018.

A sanitation drive was also launched. People were asked to keep their surroundings clean. Educational institutions as well as non-governmental organisations were also involved in this task, the health minister said.

Singh said malnourishment, one of the causes of spread of encephalitis, was checked by ensuring that pregnant women, lactating mothers and infants got nutritious food for which the lntegrated Child Development Services (ICDS) department and Aanganwadi workers were involved.

The medical department has been directed to provide more ventilators and warmers to the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur, he said, adding paramedic staff were being trained to combat the disease.