New Delhi: In view of the recent cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Assam, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday (June 30) dispatched a Central team to review the situation in the state.

Harsha Vardhan directed the ministry to extend all support and assistance to the state government.

"I am closely monitoring the situation. The health ministry is coordinating with the Assam government for prevention and management of Japanese Encephalitis to ensure that the cases don't rise in the state," Vardhan said.

The health minister also said that his ministry is providing all logistical and technical support to the state government in terms of surveillance and diagnostic kits to strengthen their efforts in addressing Japanese Encephalitis.

Noting that community participation and empowerment are the most crucial in JE prevention, Vardhan urged all the stakeholders to start rigorous awareness campaigns regarding the preventive steps to be taken by the communities.

According to an official communique, the Central team headed by additional secretary, Sanjeeva Kumar is accompanied by the senior officers from the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, New Delhi.

All 27 districts of Assam were covered under the JE vaccination campaign for those aged between one to 15 years followed by routine immunisation, it said.

Ten high endemic districts of Assam (Shivsagar Barpeta, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Darrang, Udalguri, Bongaigaon, Cachar, Morigaon, Nalbari) have been included under the multi-pronged strategy for prevention and control of JE.

These districts have also been covered under adult JE vaccination campaign. Out of 10 high burdened districts, funds have been provided for the establishment of seven Paediatric ICUs (PICU). Of these, four PICUs have been made functional, the statement added.

For rehabilitation of JE disabled patients, the central government has provided funds for the strengthening of two Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) departments at Dibrugarh Medical College and Guwahati Medical College.

Japanese Encephalitis is vector-borne encephalitis transmitted by Culex groups of mosquitoes. These mosquitoes breed mainly in rice fields and large water bodies rich in aquatic vegetation.

Migratory birds, along with pigs in the community play an essential role in the transmission of JE from one area to another.