Uttar Pradesh Government has launched massive door to door “DASTAK campaign against Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanise Encephalitis (JE)” to eradicate deadly diseases from the state. It was launched in association with UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). DASTAK campaign is part of the comprehensive Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) strategy embraced by state government to beat encephalitis.
In DASTAK campaign, the whole state machinery with help of UNICEF will go door to door in 38 JES and AE affected districts, mostly falling in the Tarai region of state which contributes to about 60% of total AES cases all over the country. The war cry of DASTAK is Darwaja khatkhatao, AES aur JE ko bhagao.
In this massive campaign, most of the state departments including health, rural development, primary education will work together to spread awareness about the diseases through mass media communication, provide clean drinking water, initiate sanitation drive, ensure vaccination and early treatment to eradicate disease. Children of 600 schools in the affected areas will also be part of this campaign.
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus. It belongs to the same genus as dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses. The first case of JE was documented in 1871 in Japan. It primarily affects children. Most adults in endemic countries have natural immunity after childhood infection, but individuals of any age may be affected.
It is transmitted by rice field breeding mosquitoes (primarily Culex tritaeniorhynchus group). The mosquitoes transmit JE by feeding on domestic pigs and wild birds infected with the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). It is not transmitted from person-to-person. JE transmission mainly intensifies during the rainy season, during which vector populations increase.
Signs and symptoms of most JE infections are mild (fever and headache) or without apparent symptoms, but it may result in severe clinical illness. Moreover, severe infection is marked by quick onset, headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, stupor, occasional convulsions (especially in infants) etc. There is no specific therapy. Intensive supportive therapy is indicated.