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Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

  • 12 Jul 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has provided tap water supply to more than 97 lakh households in five JE-AES (Japanese Encephalitis-Acute Encephalitis Syndrome) affected states.

  • The five states with priority districts are Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
  • JJM envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024. The Jal Shakti Ministry is the nodal ministry for the implementation of the scheme.

Key Points

  • Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES):
    • About: AES is a severe case of encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes and is characterized by high fever and inflammation of the brain.
      • The World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2006, coined the term AES to signify a group of diseases which seem similar to one another but are difficult to differentiate in the chaotic environment of an outbreak.
    • Vulnerable Population: The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.
    • Causative Agents: Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins, and noninfectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades. It is not vaccine-preventable.
    • Symptoms: Confusion, disorientation, coma, or inability to talk, high fever, vomiting, nausea, and unconsciousness.
    • Diagnosis: The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) in India has set up countrywide surveillance for AES through sentinel sites with a focus on detecting Japanese Encephalitis (JEV).
      • In the sentinel surveillance network, AES/JE is diagnosed by IgM Antibody Capture ELISA, and virus isolation is done in the National Reference Laboratory.
  • Status of AES in India:
    • According to the NVBDCP, 10,485 AES cases were diagnosed in 2018 with 632 deaths across 17 states.
    • India records fatality rate at 6% in AES, but the fatality rises to 25% amongst children.
    • Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Tripura are worst affected.
  • Government Initiatives: To reduce morbidity and mortality the government of India developed a multi-pronged strategy with the convergence of the concerned ministries.
    • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: Strengthening and expanding JE vaccination, Strengthening of public health activities, Better clinical management of JE/AES Cases etc.
    • Ministry of Jal Shakti for the provision of safe water supply.
    • Women and Child development for providing high-quality nutrition to vulnerable children.
    • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for establishing District Disability Rehabilitation Centers for disability management and rehabilitation.
    • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for ensuring the supply of safe water in slums and towns.
    • Ministry of Education to provide special facilities for disabled children for their education.

Source: PIB

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