New Delhi: With 3,803 cases of Japanese Encephalitis/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome reported from across the country this year, the deadly virus has so far claimed 674 lives.
Of the total 674 deaths till August 9, the Health Ministry officials said the maximum of 275 have taken place in Bihar, followed by 193 in Assam and 147 in Uttar Pradesh. There have also been 37 deaths in Tamil Nadu and 15 in West Bengal due to the virus.
After the repeated outbreak of the virus every year, the Union Health Ministry has identified 171 districts in the country which are affected with Japanese Encephalitis/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. Sixty of them are high priority affected districts in the five states of Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
As per Health Ministry data, there were a maximum of 1,169 deaths due to the virus in 2011, 679 in 2010 and 774 in 2009. Uttar Pradesh had the maximum of 579 deaths in 2011, while Assam had reported 250 deaths and Bihar 197.
The Health Ministry has also released/allocated Rs 15.90 crore till July 2012 for the prevention and control of JE/AES during the current year.
Japanese Encephalitis is a disease caused by the mosquito-
borne Japanese encephalitis virus, which may cause drowsiness, confusion and disorientation, seizures, sudden fever, severe headache, nausea and vomiting, tremor or convulsions, stiff neck, bulging in the soft spots (fontanels) of the skull in infants. Urgent signs and symptoms may include altered levels of consciousness.
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is among the most important viral encephalitides in Asia, especially in rural and suburban areas where rice culture and pig farming coexist.
AES including JE is reported mainly from Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh which account for approximately 80 per cent of cases and deaths with a case fatality rate ranging from 20 to 25 per cent.
Specific anti-viral drug for AES including Japanese Encephalitis is not available till date and cases are managed symptomatically.