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Bengal to set up special fever clinics to tackle encephalitis

Posted on Jul 21 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, July 21 : With over 80 encephalitis deaths reported from northern West Bengal this year, the state health department has decided to set up fever clinics and relocate pig farms in the districts in the grip of the vector-borne disease.

Of the 344 reported incidents of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis syndrome (JES), 83 fatalities were recorded in 2014, said state's director of health services B.R. Satpathi.

"Out of the 83 deaths, 22 have perished due to JES. To control the spread, fever clinics will be functional from Tuesday in all seven districts in north Bengal.

"The clinics will screen only fever cases and if tests indicate encephalitis, then the matter will be referred to higher authorities for prompt treatment," Satpathi told IANS.

The clinics, with special diagnostic kits, will be set up in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipuduar, Cooch Behar, Malda, North and South Dinajpur districts, he said.

Encephalitis is a disease that results in inflammation of the brain, affecting the patient's central nervous system.

It can be caused due to bacterial or viral infections of the brain, injection of toxic substances or increased complications of an infectious disease.

While the lesser symptoms include headaches and fevers, the more severe ones cause the onset of mental issues like seizures, confusion, disorientation, tremors and hallucinations.

JES is caused by a mosquito-borne virus. While human beings are the dead-end hosts of the virus, pigs acts as amplifying hosts that aid in spread of the disease.

"We asked the district administration to ensure the piggeries are located away from densely populated areas, with the help of the urban development departments in the districts," Satpathi said.

In addition, fogging exercises in communities will be carried out to exterminate the mosquitoes, he said.

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