Bengaluru: A special vaccination campaign will begin on December 5 for preventing Japanese Encephalitis (JE brain fever) cases in children. The aim is to innoculate approximately 48 lakh children in the age group of 1-15 years against the disease that causes permanent disabilities, said Karnataka Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar.
Elaborating on the JE Vaccination Campaign, the minister said that In the first week of December children studying in government and private schools in the states will be covered. In the next two weeks, vaccination drives will be held at Primary Health Centers, Anganwadis, and other community centers. The vaccination is being supplied by the Union government and will be administered free of charge.
Minister explained that during the special JE vaccination campaign, one dose of vaccine will be given to children aged 1-15 years.
According to WHO, Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease that is transmitted to humans through bites from infected mosquitoes of the Culex species. There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving severe clinical signs and supporting the patient to overcome the infection.
Japanese encephalitis (JE) has been identified in 24 countries worldwide. As many as 11 Asian countries including India are on this list. An average of 68,000 JE cases are reported every year worldwide, with a mortality rate of 20 percent to 30 percent. Of those who survive, 30 percent to 50 percent suffer permanent disabilities including mental retardation, the minister added.
In India, the first case of JE encephalitis was reported in 1955 in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka, the first case was detected in the Kolar district in 1978. Most cases occur in children under 15 years of age. Karnataka reported 11 cases in 2016, 23 cases in 2017, 35 cases in 2018, 33 cases in 2019, 19 cases in 2020, 25 cases in 2021, and 21 cases in 2022.
JE vaccination covered under UIP in 10 districts
As many as 10 districts of Karnataka — i.e. Ballari, Raichur, Koppal, Vijayapura, Chikkaballapura, Kolar, Mandya, Dharwad, Chitradurga, and Davanagere — have been declared as JE endemic districts. JE vaccination for children of these districts has been covered in the Universal Immunisation Program in the state. Under UIP, children in these districts are given 2 doses of the vaccine — the first dose administered after 9 months of age and the 2nd dose at the age of 1.5 years, the minister said.