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Deadly Japanese encephalitis surges in northeast India

By Amarjyoti Borah GUWAHATI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Cases of deadly mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis have risen nearly five-fold in five years in India’s northeast Assam state as a result of warming weather and changing rainfall, health experts say. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of annual cases rose from 154 to 744, with deaths rising from 41 to 160, according to data from the Assam health department. Japanese encephalitis is characterised by inflammation of the brain and high fever. “Now the temperature … which is ideal for breeding of the Culex mosquito is present almost until October or so, and as a result of this the cases of the disease are increasing,” said Rabindra Nath Talukdar, a senior official of the Assam health department.

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