The outbreak of suspected encephalitis and subsequent death of close to 24 children in Bihar has made health officials here sound an alert in the capital and other parts of the State. Health authorities have expressed the need for efficient preventive measures at areas where the pig population is large.

The most common kind of encephalitis in Hyderabad and other parts of the State is Japanese Encephalitis (JE), which is caused by mosquitoes that are infected – usually by pigs.

Health officials said that mosquito population control measures and sanitation in colonies where pig farms are common should be taken up.

The monthly and weekly surveillance carried out by health officials in Hyderabad and other parts of State has, so far, not found any spurt in JE cases. “The season for encephalitis is between June and November and during this time, the public should be cautious about mosquitoes. They are the main vectors who transmit the virus. Public should take precautions from mosquitoes,” Joint Director, (Communicable Diseases, Prevention), Dr. U. Prasad Rao told The Hindu.

The JD said that already alerts have already been sent to all health facilities including tertiary hospitals in the capital and elsewhere.

“So far, we have not come across any cases of JE. Pigs are intermediaries and regions where pig farming is common should be under scanner by local municipal officials,” Dr. Prasad Rao added.

Awareness

The district health officials said that weekly awareness campaigns are being taken up on preventive steps and harmful affects of mosquitoes at high risk areas.

“Our medical officers have started holding weekly meetings at high risk areas to educate public on seasonal ailments. There is also a need to chalk out a strategy to manage areas were pig farming is common in Hyderabad,” said DM&HO, Hyderabad, Dr. B. L. Veena Kumari.

Last year, few cases of JE were reported at Talabkatta area where pig farming is common. Authorities said that the lifecycle of JE virus involves domestic pigs and Culex species of mosquito. “Mosquitoes take blood from infected pigs and transmit among humans. Vector control programme is vital,” authorities said.