Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma with heath dept officials and others at a meeting to review the situation following outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis in Tura on Thursday Credit: Twitter

Tura: In view of the outbreak of the Japanese encephalitis (JE) in West Garo Hills district, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma held an emergency meeting with senior government officials in Tura on Thursday. Over a dozen cases of the virus infection have been reported from across the district.

During the meeting, the CM reviewed the nature of the disease and precautionary measures being undertaken by the departments concerned in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Referring to data, which shows an increase in the number of JE cases in the district with 17 in 2016, 5 (1 death) in 2017, 29 (4 deaths) in 2018 and 17 cases (1 death) till June this year, he said the trend is alarming and should be analysed seriously how to tackle this problem in future.

Further, he also directed the health officials to conduct aggressive IEC awareness programmes, including the do’s and don’ts about JE to the people and also to carry out fogging of the vulnerable localities where cases have been found and then extend to other localities of the district. Mentioning about the effects of climate change in the region, he said that these vector-borne diseases are more likely to increase in future.

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“Therefore, awareness is critical and should sensitise the people especially at the individual level to reduce mosquito density by avoiding mosquito breeding grounds in their surroundings. Assuring support to the people of the area, he said that this is not the work of only the government, but everyone in society should come together and cooperate to prevent this situation in future,” he added.

Patients, who are tested positive of Japanese encephalitis at Tura, are advised not to eat pork for now.

Meanwhile, West Garo Hills DC Ram Singh has urged the local residents not to panic about the outbreak of the disease.

“Those patients who have tested positive might not show any symptoms but however, patients suffering from the disease or any suspected patient should take precaution and must be admitted in the hospital for observation and treatment,” he said. The DC also directed the health officials and line departments to conduct massive awareness programmes and also to check all the localities since rearing of pigs in not allowed in urban areas.

JE is a viral disease caused by the Japanese Encephalitis (B) virus which is normally present in birds, especially aquatic birds, which is then transmitted through the amplifying host (pig or other cattle) to humans by the bite of culex mosquitoes. The infection is transmitted only through the bite of infected female culex mosquitoes and there is no person to person transmission.

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