ITANAGAR, Jul 20: With 20 cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) detected in East Siang and other districts of the state and the authorities stating that the cases are still increasing in number, there is growing apprehension among the people in general.
Speaking to The Arunachal Times, epidemiologist Dr L Jampa informed that though the condition of the JE patients in Pasighat is presently improving, reports of more JE cases have been coming in, indicating an increase in the number of JE cases.
“The rapid response team of the health department returned from Pasighat yesterday, and we will be able to provide further information regarding our report by Tuesday,” he said, adding that the department is taking up every preventive measure possible.
Informing that vaccination is available at all the government health facilities in JE endemic Changlang, Namsai, Lohit, and Papum Pare districts, Dr Jampa clarified that the notion that JE vaccine can provide immediate protection to adult persons from the disease is a misconception.
“People need to know that one dose of JE vaccine takes around three months for antibody formation in our bodies. Therefore, vaccination does not provide immediate protection from the virus,” he said.
He said the government of India has not given any mandate for providing JE vaccine in this situation, unless there is a real epidemic. The JE vaccine is otherwise only included in the routine immunization pro-gramme for children.
Meanwhile, Health Services Director Dr M Lego has informed that the test results of the samples that had been sent to the IRMC in Dibrugarh (Assam) are still awaited and the department would be able to give a proper report on the findings soon.
He also said the patients in Pasighat, “though they have tested positive for the JE virus, are clinically not serious.” Informing that their condition is stable and they have shown improvement, the director appealed to the people not to panic.
He, however, advised everyone to take preventive measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites, and to take JE vaccination as per the national immunization schedule.