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Acute Encephalitis Syndrome outbreak: Assam government keeps leaves of doctors, paramedics on hold

Representative image. Photograph:( ANI )

ANI Guwahati, Assam, India Jul 06, 2019, 02.19 PM (IST)

After receiving the reports of 49 deaths and 190 positive cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Assam, the Sarbananda Sonowal government on Saturday said that it has kept on hold leaves for all doctors and paramedical staff across the state.

"Leaves for all doctors and paramedical staff including surveillance workers will be kept on hold. Any kind of emergency leave will be granted only with the prior approval of the Deputy Commissioner of the District," read a statement issued by Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.The Minister said that unauthorised absence from the place of posting even after duty hours will be treated seriously amounting to criminal dereliction of duty and instructed the state's Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare to hold a weekly review conference with all DCs and JDs to ensure the vigil continues."

A total of 3,622 fever cases have been transferred to the health facilities during June 2019. Vaccination for JE through the routine immunization for children is currently going on regularly.

Realizing the importance of adult vaccination was done in 20 Districts of Assam during 2016-17 where the coverage was about 68 per cent.

However, there is a need for adult vaccination mop up to prevent the outbreak in all the remaining districts," the order said.

Sharma said that in order to ensure that JE patients needing ICU critical care are not deterred from getting timely medical treatment, all costs of ICU care including hospital charges, drugs, diagnostics will be made free of cost to the patient at the point of care in all the government hospitals operating ICU facilities.

He said in case of non-availability of government ICU beds, a consolidated ICU treatment allowance up to Rs1 Lakh per patient will be paid directly to the private hospital in the name of the treating patient.

Highlighting the efforts of the state government in response to tackling the crisis, Sarma said that 12.8 lakhs blood slides have been collected and diagnostic services for JE were already available in all district hospitals and medical colleges.

"After the identification of JE cases, the affected areas are covered extensively for awareness generation, intensified fogging operation. A total of 1,094 affected villages have been covered through intensified fogging operations already," he said.