Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES)

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    In News

    Recently, the Prime Minister has emphasised providing clean tap water on priority to every household in Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES) affected areas under Jal Jeevan Mission.

    About

    • The districts of Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are on the high priority. 
    • Jal Jeevan Mission has significantly strengthened the preventive measures to reduce the spread of JE-AES by providing a clean tap water supply to economically poor households in these states.
      • Jal Jeevan Mission was launched in 2019, with an aim to provide drinking water connections to all rural households by 2024.
      • About 17 percent of the households in India had a functional tap water connection but the number was as low as 8 per cent in these aspirational districts.
    • Specific funds for JE-AES affected priority districts are allocated on the basis of drinking water sources and the extent of water contamination. 

    Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)

    • Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) including Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is a group of clinically similar neurologic manifestations caused by several different viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals/ toxins etc.
    • Symptoms:
      • It is characterized as acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) and/or new onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year.
    • Affects:
      • The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.
    • Treatment:
      • The first treatment plan for this viral infection is hydration and increasing the glucose levels in the body.

    Status of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in India

    • JEV has its endemic zones running along the Gangetic plain including states of UP (east), Bihar, West Bengal and Assam, and parts of Tamil Nadu.
    • India records fatality rate at 6% in AES, but the fatality rises to 25% amongst children.

    Steps Taken

    • Govt. of India, as part of the National Programme for Prevention & Control of JE/AES, follows a multi-pronged strategy encompassing
      • Preventive (sanitation, safe drinking water, improvement in nutrition etc.)
      • Case management (capacity building of medical and para-medical staff referral etc.).
      • Rehabilitation (physical and social rehabilitation of disabled children).
    • 2 doses of JE vaccine have been approved to be included in UIP to be given one along with measles at the age of 9 months and the second with DPT booster at the age of 16-24 months w.e.f. April, 2013.

    Way Forward

    • Improve nutritional status of children at risk of JE/AES.
    • Increase access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities

    Source: PIB