Japanese Encephalitis on the decline in State

HYDERABAD April 1. Japanese Encephalitis (JE), which was a major problem in the State during the last two decades resulting in significant morbidity and mortality is on the decline, thanks to the initiative taken by the State Government.

Andhra Pradesh witnessed the disease for the first time in 1979 and subsequently in almost every year until 1986 and several children were affected. In 1979, homeopathic medicines were distributed in a small way in certain parts of Rayalaseema, but the disease continued to appear every year from June to December. This small-scale administration of Belladona alone in selected area gave tangible results. However, since 1999 the Department of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy started distribution of homoeo drugs in a systematic way throughout the State.

The mortality rate has come from 439 from 1273 cases in 1981 to nil last year. It had touched a high of 638 deaths from 2038 cases in 1986, but fell to four from 33 cases in 2001, following the implementation of BCT programme, which enunciates administration of three drugs--Belladona, Calcarea Crab and Tuberculinum in succession to all children to boost the immune system.

The BCT programme has been a great success in the State, as the incidence of JE during the last three years has come down significantly. Even the World Health Organisation and the Medical and Health Department have recognised that administration of BCT has been a vital factor in the sharp decline of JE cases in AP.

The department officials told The Hindu that in 1999 the Government sent two expert teams to study the efficacy of the BCT in the prevention of JE during the peak period of its virulence.

Two independent pilot projects carried out in high risk areas in Kurnool district and Miryalguda mandal, Nalgonda district by the Government Homoeopathic Medical College, Cuddapah, and Government Homoepathic Hospital, Hyderabad, respectively on 10,000 children have recommended to the Government to implement this programme all over the State.

The officials said last year JE homoeo medicine was distributed free of cost through the network of primary health centres, community health centres of the department. The Statewide distribution of the medicine was taken according to a time-table like Pulse Polio.

Three doses of Belladona were administered on August 1,2 and 3, 2002. While Calcerea Crab was given on August 10, Tuberculinum was provided on 24.

The booster dose of Belladona was given on October 1. Further distribution of medicine will continue through the Social Welfare and Education departments and NGOs, according to the officials.

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