Karnataka to vaccinate 48 lakh children against Japanese Encephalitis from Dec 5

Bengaluru: A special vaccination drive to inoculate an estimated 48 lakh children aged between 1-15 against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) will be held in Karnataka from December 5 for a period of three weeks, State Health Minister K Sudhakar told news agency PTI on Sunday.

The JE is caused by a virus called flavivirus and it is primarily transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. The virus is maintained in pigs and wild birds which are called amplifier hosts. While man is the dead-end host. Encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain caused by either infection or an allergic reaction.

“JE is one of the most common causes of Encephalitis in India and a total of 68,000 cases are reported every year. Among these, the death rate is around 20 to 30 per cent. Among those who are cured, 30 to 50 per cent of people end up with sensory and motor weakness, and other permanent physical and mental disabilities,” Sudhakar said.

“In the first week now (December), vaccinations will primarily be focused on Private and Government schools, following this, in the next two weeks, we will be focusing on vaccination drives in health institutions, Anganwadi centers and among communities,” he said.

Union Health Ministry will be supplying the Jenvac vaccine to conduct the drive.

According to an official release, under Universal Immunisation Programme in the State, Ballari, Raichur, Koppal, Vijayapur, Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Mandya, Dharwad, Chitradurga and Davanagere are identified as the 10 endemic districts for this virus. In these districts, JE vaccine is given to children after they complete 9 months and a second dose is given at the age of 1.5 years.

As per the directive of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, additional JE campaigns are conducted in Bagalkote, Dakshina Kannada, Gadag, Hassan, Haveri, Kalaburgi, Tumkur, Ramanagara, Udupi and Yadgiri districts during the JE non transmission period.

In this campaign, one dose of the JE vaccine will be administered to children aged 1 to 15 years.

“Now we have to wage a war against JE and our Health Department is fully prepared. Let us all join hands in the fight against Encephalitis and protect our future generations from the crippling effects of this disease,” Sudhakar said.

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