The Uttar Pradesh government on 1 September, Sunday said there has been a "sharp decline" in the number of cases and deaths due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) this year.
In a statement issued here, Devesh Chaturvedi, principal secretary, Medical, Health & Family Welfare Department said, "As many as 34 deaths have been caused due to AES this year (till August 27), while 890 patients of the disease have been admitted. As far as Japanese Encephalitis is concerned, only 4 deaths have been reported this year (till August 27), while 55 patients of the disease have been admitted."
"In 2016, the number of AES patients stood at 3,911, and 641 deaths were reported. In 2017, the patients' count rose to 4724, while the death figures were 655. The statistics showed a downward trend in 2018, when there were 3,077 AES patients, and 248 AES deaths took place." Similarly, in 2016, there were 74 JE deaths, while the total JE patients number stood at 442, Chaturvedi said.
In 2017, as many as 93 JE deaths were reported, while the headcount of JE patients was 692. The year 2018 saw a decline both in the number of patients (329) as well as JE deaths (30). he said.
“The cases of death due to AES and JE witnessed a sharp decline in 2019.”Devesh Chaturvedi
According to the National Health Portal, set up by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, AES is a serious public health problem in India. 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.
The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.
Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins and non-infectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease that infects animals and humans. It is transmitted by mosquitoes in humans causing inflammation of the membranes around the brain.
A disease caused by flavi virus that affects the membranes around the brain, symptoms of JE are mild fever and headache. But sometimes 1 in 200 infections can result in severe disease characterized by rapid onset of high-grade fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and death.