Meghalaya sounds alert for Japanese encephalitis

Meghalaya has sounded an alert for Japanese encephalitis after seven people tested positive for the virus and 23 others are suspected to be suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome, an official said Tuesday.

"We have sounded a health alert in the state after seven people were tested for Japanese encephalitis," Chief Secretary P.B.O. Warjri told IANS.

Warjri, who held a meeting with medical officials, said the government has taken steps to contain the spread of the virus.

Meghalaya has procured four MAC ELISA kits from the Pune-based National Institute of Virology.

Health officials will also undertake fogging in various localities to tackle culex mosquitoes, which are responsible for the outbreak of Japanese encephalitis, and their breeding grounds.

Health and Family Welfare Minister A.L. Hek said he has directed hospital authorities to provide adequate treatment and medicines to those suffering from the disease.

Encephalitis results in inflammation of the brain, affecting the patient's central nervous system. It is caused by bacterial or viral infections of the brain, injection of toxic substances or increased complications of an infectious disease.

While the lesser symptoms include headache and fever, the more severe ones cause seizures, confusion, disorientation, tremors and hallucinations.

Japanese encephalitis Syndrome is caused by a mosquito-borne virus. While humans are the dead-end hosts of the virus, pigs acts as amplifying hosts that aid in spread of the disease.