Meghalaya sounds alert on Encephalitis

Meghalaya today sounded an alert in four districts bordering Assam after outbreak of Encephalitis in the neighbouring state, health officials said here.

Even as there was no confirmed case till date, at least six suspected cases of encephalitis have been detected in Ri-Bhoi district, they said.

The four Meghalaya districts where alert was sounded by the state health ministry are Ri-Bhoi, parts of West Khasi Hills, North Garo Hills and West Garo Hills.

The disease has claimed 60 lives in North Bengal in a fortnight since July 7 and a total 344 people have been affected.

"Health services officials in districts close to Assam have been asked to be cautious in case patients show any symptom similar to encephalitis," state National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme Officer Dr B Mawlong told PTI.

She said six suspected cases had been detected yesterday in Ri-Bhoi district and the government was waiting for test kits from Pune-based laboratory.

According to the health officials, Japanese Encephalitis is a disease caused by mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus. Domestic pigs and wild birds (herons) are reservoirs of the virus while transmission to humans may cause severe symptoms.

An awareness programme has also been intensified in remote areas especially in those districts where the likelihood of its occurrence is more, they said.