Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is a common mosquito borne flaviviral encephalitis. It is one of the leading forms of viral encephalitis worldwide, mostly prevalent in eastern and southern Asia, covering a region with a population of over three billion. Most infections of JE are asymptomatic, but if clinical illness develops, it causes significant morbidity and mortality. Though underreported, JE causes an estimated 50,000 cases and 15,000 deaths annually. JE is a disease of public health importance because of its epidemic potential and high fatality rate. In endemic areas, the highest age-specific attack rates occur in children of 3 to 6 years of age. Approximately one third of patients die, and half of the survivors suffer severe neuropsychiatric sequelae from the disease. In India, epidemics of JE are reported from many parts of the country, and it is considered a major paediatric problem. The first recognition of JE based on serological surveys was in 1955, in Tamil Nadu, India. A total of approximately 65 cases were reported between 1955 and 1966 in Southern India. Subsequent surveys carried out by the National Institute of Virology of Pune indicated that approximately half of the population in Southern India has neutralizing antibodies to the virus. Since 1955, many major outbreaks in different parts of the country have been reported. A major outbreak resulting in a 42.6% fatality rate was reported in the Bankura District of West Bengal in 1973. Subsequently, the disease spread to other states and caused a series of outbreaks in different parts of the country. In 1978, cases were reported from 21 states and union territories. In Uttar Pradesh, the first major JE epidemic occurred in Gorakhpur in 1978, with 1,002 cases and 297 deaths reported. Many outbreaks were reported in Gorakhpur after the 1978 JE outbreak, with varying intensity and magnitude. Since 1978 to 2005, this encephalitis has taken more than 10,000 lives in the state. The 2005 epidemic surpassed all previous reported outbreaks in the country. In that year, Uttar Pradesh faced a devastating outbreak of JE, mostly confined to Gorakhpur, with 6,061 cases and 1,500 deaths; another outbreak occurred in 2006, with 2,320 cases and 528 deaths. Similarly, JE cases in Uttar Pradesh were confined predominantly to Gorakhpur during 2007, with 3,024 cases and 645 deaths, and then onwards till 2007 there have been 103,389 reported cases in India, and then onwards till 2007 there have been 103,389 reported cases in India, and 33,729 deaths.
Objectives of the programme
• To identify the sensitive areas where Encephalitis has major impact or wrath.
• To create awareness among people for prevention and cure of Encephalitis.
• To help the Government of India and Uttar Pradesh government to reach out to people at grass root level and promote Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan.
• To create awareness about government vaccination programmes for prevention against Encephalitis virus.
• To highlight the preventive mechanisms to reduce the spread of vector carrier mosquitos.