Guwahati: Assam has been recording a sharp rise in vector-borne diseases, including dengue and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) cases that have surpassed all records of the past. The district authorities have been put on high alert while the medical colleges have been asked to take appropriate steps to address the outbreak.
According to data available with the health department, the state has registered 3463 dengue cases, recording 126 fresh cases in the last 24 hours. Diphu town, situated in the Karbi Anglong district, which is the epicenter of dengue outbreak, has reported 2041 cases and a death toll of four. A total of 117 cases have been recorded in the district since Saturday, making it the state's worst-hit district. The pace at which the disease is spreading has triggered panic in the area.
Guwahati has also been affected as three persons were tested positive for dengue since yesterday. Adjacent regions have witnessed a steady upswing in dengue cases, with Kamrup, Dima Hasao, Golaghat, Hojai, and Sivasagar reporting a spike in fresh cases.
Despite vector-borne diseases rising during the monsoon season, it is being alleged that the health department has failed to raise awareness and implement preventive measures to curb breeding of mosquitoes. Health department has failed to identify the mosquito breeding grounds and subsequently generate awareness on preventive measures.
What has sparked controversy is the health department's decision to impose fines ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 5000 on individuals who fail to take precautions against dengue infection. Some people claim this to be an attempt of the department to divert attention from its shortcomings.
Along with dengue, the rise in JE and encephalitis-like diseases is another cause of worry. JE has already affected 426 people compared to 377 cases that were recorded last year. A total of 24 people have died due to JE.
In the last 24 hours, eight new JE cases were recorded from Dibrugarh, Nagaon, Sonitpur, and Dhubri. Experts said that majority of deaths might have been die to encephalitis-like diseases instead of JE.
As a preventive measure, people have been asked to wear long-sleeved clothes, use mosquito repellants, nets and insecticides. Patients suffering from fever and headache along with vomiting, speech impediment have been asked to consult doctors.