Kolkata, July 25 IANS | 3 months ago

The West Bengal government has requested the central government to launch a mass vaccination programme for Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in the Cooch Behar district in the state's northern part, which is in the grip of the disease, an official said Friday.

As many as 113 people have died from the acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) this year.

Out of them, 23 deaths have been attributed to JE, a subset of AES and caused by a mosquito-borne virus. While humans are the dead-end hosts of the virus, pigs act as amplifying hosts that aid in the spread of the disease.

In total, seven districts have been under the scanner during the outbreak season.

Vaccination drives were initiated in the Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur districts to check the infection. However, Cooch Behar is yet to see the immunisation measure for children between one to five years of age.

"We have requested the central government to launch the drive in Cooch Behar as soon as possible. This year we saw a lot of encephalitis patients under 15 years of age from that district. In other districts, the patients were above 15.

"We have been told that a drive will be launched (after the outbreak ceases) around October-November this year," state director of health services B. R Satpathi told IANS.

The coverage plans will be chalked out soon, he said.

In addition, the seven-member central committee which is investigating the incidences has recommended proper training of the medical officers handling such cases, Satpathi said.

(Posted on 25-07-2014)

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