Govt to prepare action plan to fight dengue, chikungunya

Last Updated: Nov 28, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

New Delhi: Concerned over the rising cases of dengue, chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis, the government has put immediate focus on development of vaccines
and other actions to deal with such ailments that create widespread scare.

The government has decided to prepare an action plan within the next three-four months to tackle these diseases, Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar told a news agency.

Under the action plan, the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare and Science and Technology will work together for the programme to develop vaccines for these mostly
communicable diseases.

The decision to focus on development of vaccines and other remedial actions comes against the backdrop of widespread fear created by dengue in the run-up to the October
Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

It has been noted that the cases of dengue were higher this year, Chandrasekhar said while explaining the reasons for the government action.

Also, chikungunya, which earlier used to be seen in some coastal areas, was also seen to have spread over to other places, including Delhi, he noted.

The country has so far reported 15,535 cases of dengue out of which 96 turned fatal.

Chikungunya has been majorly reported in the national capital, which has reported 33 cases so far.

Hosted by pigs and wading birds and transmitted by mosquitoes, the virus that causes Japanese Encephalitis mainly strikes poor rural communities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that JE
claims 10,000 to 15,000 lives a year. But because awareness is
low and the disease is tough to diagnose, these figures may be
gross underestimates.

The government has already initiated a vaccination campaign against the disease and expects to immunise a total of 100 million by the end of 2010.

PTI