16 AES/JE deaths in Assam in 24-hours, toll reachs 142

16 AES/JE deaths in Assam in 24-hours, toll reachs 142

Activists of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) stage a protest against the authorities’ over the deaths due to Japanese Encephalitis outbreak, in front of the State Directorate of Health in Guwahati, Tuesday, July 02, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Assam reported 16 more deaths due to Acute Encephilitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in the past 24-hours, taking the death toll to 142 since June 28.

Of these deaths, 64 were related to JE.

Sources in the state health department told DH that seven JE deaths were reported from Golaghat (2), Kamrup (2), Dibrugarh, Barpeta and Kamrup (metro) on Tuesday, while nine other deaths were related to AES.

Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who held a media conference on July 5, shared the data related to JE deaths only (49) but the cumulative death toll data related to both AES and JE, which was shared by the department on Tuesday, shocked many.

The source said 31 JE and 90 AES cases were reported from across the state on Tuesday alone. "So far 1,092 AES cases have been reported, including 234 JE cases," said the source.

The official, however, did not disclose the district-wise figures of AES deaths reported so far. 

Sarma on July 5 said that with the cultivation season at its peak, the state was witnessing transmission for JE since June 28.

The Japanese Encephalitis is caused by a virus transmitted through the culex mosquito. “The primary reservoir of this virus is migratory birds like heron, cattle egrets and pigs, which act as amplifying hosts. Those coming in contact with these pigs or birds when affected, may suffer from JE. From affected human cases, JE does not spread to other human beings by the bite of culex mosquito,” said a statement issued by the state health department on July 5.

High fever with headache, change in mental states like confusion, disorientation with or without seizure, are some of the major symptoms of JE. 

A doctor based here said that AES is also caused by a virus which impacts the brain. "But all AES may not lead to JE," he said.

The minister of state for health, Pijush Hazarika, said the department was making all efforts to contain the disease, which had spread to 32 of the state's 33 districts.