AES claims 212 live in Assam this year

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Guwahati/Tezpur: The vector-borne Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) claimed 212 lives while Japanese Encephalitis (JE) 93 in Assam this year, a senior Health Department official said Wednesday.

The total number of people suffering from AES was 1,286, including 488 by JE, Joint Director Health Services-Malaria Dr B K Barua told PTI.

The affected cases were registered as Acute Encephalitis Syndrome within which Japanese Encephalitis was also included, Barua said.

After the doubtful patients tested positive through the Elisa Test, they were declared as AES affected, he said.

Meanwhile, fogging was on in the vulnerable areas of the 24 of the 27 districts of the state affected by the killer disease, health department officials said.

The worst hit districts in Lower Assam were Sonitpur, Barpeta, Nalbari, Darrang, Kamrup (Rural) and Kamrup (Metro), while in the Upper Assam Tinsukia, North Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Dhemaji and Golaghat, they said.

Vaccines and medicines were being regularly supplied to hospitals and other health centres, besides running awareness campaigns at all administrative levels, they added.

Earlier reports had put the death toll in the state so far at 295 and the number of affected at 1,727.

Dr Durlav Saikia who has been carrying out extensive studies on JE told PTI that Japanese Encephalitis, also known as 'brain fever', is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes that infect animals and humans in whom inflammation of the membranes around the brain is caused.

Saikia also said that intensification and expansion of irrigated rice production systems in the South and South-East Asia over the past 20 years have had an important impact on the disease burden caused by Japanese Encephalitis.

Expansion of irrigation into semi-arid areas and flooding of fields at the start of each cropping cycle leads to an explosive build-up of the mosquito population causing circulation of the virus to spill over from their usual hosts (birds and pigs) into the human population, he said.

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