Following the Japanese encephalitis outbreak in the Chitwan district, awareness campaigns have been launched in the district. A rapid response team under the coordination of head of the district health office has been formed and special cautions adopted to contain the risks informed the health office chief Durgadatta Chapagain. So far, out of 22 tests, nine Japanese encephalitis cases have been confirmed in the district.
Representatives from Bharatpur Hospital, two medical colleges, a private hospital and Nepal Red Cross Society are members of the response team that has been on standby each at all seven local levels, he informed. Buffer stocks of medicines required during pandemic diseases at all local levels and the health officials have been managed after taking a decision. The team will immediately reach out and respond when there is a sudden outbreak of any disease, pointed out Chapagain.
Arrangements have been made for the main response team to report on a daily basis when it finds the suspects of any pandemic diseases including Japanese encephalitis.
Doctors belonging to the World Health Organisation were consulted about what types of Japanese encephalitis patients should be under surveillance, he said.
The WHO says the virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Culex mosquitoes, which lay their eggs in irrigated rice paddies and other pools of stagnant water. Pigs and birds serve as amplifying vertebrate hosts.
The team also discussed with medical superintendents and directors of major hospitals in the district and the chief of the medical department the matter relating to preparedness. Chiefs of the health sections at all local levels have been asked to adopt the preparedness.
Its symptoms include high fever, headache, vomiting, unconscious, stiff neck and body tremor. The fatality rate can be as high as 30 per cent while permanent neurologic or psychiatric sequelae can occur in 30%–50% of those with encephalitis, WHO says.