Jharkhand government fails to control spread of Japanese encephalitis

The disease which was confined only to one district till last year has now spread to 12 districts

By Alok Gupta
Published: Tuesday 14 October 2014


The fifth and the latest case of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Saraikella-Kharsawan district of Jharkhand has left the citizens and administration in shock. This is because a few days earlier, the state government had claimed a few days earlier that the spread of the disease has been contained.

District civil surgeon Kalanand Mishra on Monday confirmed that one-and-a-half-year old Rajbir Soren of Narwadih village has tested positive for the vector-borne disease. The infected child has been rushed to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, for treatment. The first case of the disease, in the district, was detected on June 16 this year.

In September, the district health department had claimed that the disease has been controlled after a massive fogging drive. This morning he, however, confessed, “We are trying our best to control the spread of JE. The district will now start another fogging drive to kill mosquitoes.”

JE is a vector-borne disease and is transmitted by mosquitoes. Around 41 cases of the disease were detected in Jharkhand last year. But, till last year, these cases were confined to neighbouring East Singhbhum district where about 17 cases of the disease were detected in 2013. At that time, the district administration had launched a public awareness campaign in Hindi and Santhali language to control its spread. The disease, however, gradually spread to 11 districts.

The Jharkhand state government was alerted after neighbouring state Bihar witnessed scores of encephalitis-related deaths in June. It immediately initiated encephalitis control drive in 11 districts— Pakur, Palamau, Chatra, Garhwa, Koderma, Giridih, Hazaribagh, Godda, Deoghar, Dumka and Sahebganj. However, Saraikella-Kharsawan was not on the priority list of the state government. Mishra has now sought the state’s help to control the spread of JE in the district.


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