While a 14-year-old girl from Upper Subansiri district lost her life to JE on July 24, a 17- year-old girl from Longman village and a 37-year-old woman from Laktang village, succumbed to the disease on July 31 while undergoing treatment at a private hospital at Dibrugarh, official sources said.
The minister had convened a high-level meeting today to assess the situation, the preventive steps initiated, and the steps required further. Pul said that a senior officer of the Union Health Ministry is expected to arrive here on August 11 to assess the situation.
The minister made a fervent appeal to the people to use protective clothing, bed nets, and repellents as there is no specific treatment for JE and no effective anti-viral drugs to treat it have been developed so far. Advocating drying up stagnated water sources (breeding ground for JE-carrier mosquitoes) and spraying of insect repellent like DEET ((N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) in the affected areas, Pul said residents of rural areas in endemic locations are at the highest risk.
The virus cannot be transmitted from person to person, but mosquitoes carry the virus by feeding on domestic pigs and wild birds infected with the JE virus. These infected mosquitoes then transmit the virus to humans and animals. Culex mosquitoes, the principal vectors, are prolific in rural areas where their larvae breed in ground pools, especially in flooded rice fields. The JE virus is transmitted seasonally. In temperate regions, it is transmitted during the summer and early fall, generally from May to September, he said.