Assam in the grip of encephalitis
THE NUMBER of cases of Japanese encephalitis is on the rise in Assam. As many as 26 of the 27 districts in the state are affected by it. The disease has claimed 160 lives and infected over 740 since May. Japanese encephalitis is a type of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. It causes inflammation of the brain and high fever. The state government says that the total number of AES cases reported between May and September 17 is 2,071 and the number of deaths is 347. Assam officials accept the problem is serious. Manish Thakur, mission director, National Rural Health Mission, Assam, says, "We have proposed vaccination of Japanese encephalitis patients all over the state and requested for funds."