U.S. body to co-sponsor international workshop on acute encephalitis in Lucknow
Lucknow, May 24 (ANI): More than 80 experts will participate in a three-day workshop on Acute Encephalitis at the Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow, which begins today.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is co-sponsoring this workshop with the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP).
Ken Earhart, Director of CDC's Global Disease Detection Regional Center in India said, "This important workgroup has been assembled to address priorities in public health surveillance and research in acute encephalitis in India".
While Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) occurs worldwide, it is especially prevalent in Asian countries with a high burden of the mosquito-borne disease Japanese encephalitis (JE). India introduced vaccination for JE in several states during 2006, resulting in a drop in cases.
However, several areas of the country continue to experience large outbreaks of encephalitis that may be due in part to JE as well as other infectious and non-infectious diseases. These outbreaks affect over 5,000 people in India. Most are children. Many are left permanently disabled and as many as 700 people die each year. The Eastern region of Uttar Pradesh has been especially hard hit with a recurring outbreak in the rainy season each year, the primary cause of which remains uncertain.
Over the past few years, the Government of India has made important progress in AES research including NVBDCP's surveillance and control of Japanese encephalitis, which oversees the vaccination and vector control program, The National Institute of Virology within ICMR that continues to research the spectrum of viral causes of encephalitis that contribute to these outbreaks, and the Government of India's establishment of an Acute Encephalitis Task Force, comprising members of different governmental programs that work specifically on encephalitis.
The primary goals of the workgroup include establishing new research protocols including a sentinel site surveillance platform to determine the primary causes of the recurring outbreaks.
Ultimately, the U.S. CDC hopes the ongoing collaboration with the Government of India will help reduce the spread of acute encephalitis in India and prevent thousands from becoming ill. (ANI)
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