Kerala

West Nile: preventive steps strengthened

Proposal to give JE vaccine to children in Malappuram, Kozhikode

The Health Department is taking all possible measures to ensure that the West Nile (WN) viral disease, which claimed the life of a six-year-old in Malappuram, does not spread to a second person.

Meanwhile, considering the high mortality of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) cases, of which Japanese Encephalitis (JE) accounts for nearly 30% of mortality, the Health Department has decided in principle to administer JE vaccine to children at 18 months in Malappuram and Kozhikode.However, the decision can be implemented only after the State gets the clearance from the JE division in the Union Health Ministry and attempts are on to secure the nod without delay.

The JE vaccine is currently being administered to children at 18 months in Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha.

Even though none with any symptoms which might be indicative of West Nile disease has come to the hospitals in the past few days, the advice given to the Health Department by experts is to give renewed attention to intensive preventive measures, Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said in a statement here on Wednesday.

An expert team has been engaged in Malappuram to monitor and strengthen preventive measures and to watch out for the possible presence of the virus in the environment or in patients.

The alert has been sounded to both public and private sector hospitals to monitor strictly, all cases of fever, with vomiting, headache or disorientation and if required, to collect necessary samples and send it for testing to the National Institute of Virology and refer the patient for treatment to the Kozhikode Government Medical College Hospital.

The State Surveillance Unit and a unit from the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Vector Control Research Centre at Kottayam conducted field studies around the deceased child’s house and premises on Wednesday and collected mosquito and bird samples to detect the presence of WN virus. Separate squads have been formed to check infectious diseases.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 5:06:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/west-nile-preventive-steps-strengthened/article26594073.ece

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