New Delhi: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday sent a central team to review and analyse the Encephalitis situation that has recently seen a rise in Assam. A team headed by the Aditional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Sanjeeva Kumar, along with senior officers from the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP) was sent to Guwahati on Sunday.

The death toll in Assam due to Acute Encephalitis Disease (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) rose to 11 after another case was reported in Barpeta, Assam, while there have been at least 35 positive cases of JE.

“I am closely monitoring the situation. The Health Ministry is coordinating with the Assam government for the prevention and management of JE to ensure that the cases don’t rise in the state,” the Union Minister said in a statement.

The Union Ministry is also providing logistical and technical support to the Assam government in terms of surveillance and diagnostic kits to strengthen their efforts in dealing with the JE in the state.

Ten high endemic districts of Assam – Shivsagar Barpeta, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Darrang, Udalguri, Bongaigaon, Cachar, Morigaon, and Nalbari – have been included under the multipronged strategy for the prevention and control of JE. These districts have also been covered under adult JE vaccination campaign.

Out of 10 high burdened districts, funds have been provided for the establishment of seven Pediatric ICUs (PICUs). Of these, four PICUs have been made functional.

For diagnosis, till date 28 Sentinel Surveillance Hospitals have been identified and the Union Health Ministry is providing diagnostic kits to Assam free of cost.

To avoid panic among people of Assam, the Ministry has also asked the stakeholders to conduct awareness campaigns for community participation and empowerment.

With ANI inputs