(provided by the applicant): Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a vector-borne disease that is one the leading causes of Acute Encephalitis syndrome (AES) in the Asia-Pacific region including India. Laboratory-based testing of serum or cerebrospinal fluid is essential for confirming the diagnosis of JE which presents as an acute encephalitis syndrome. In addition, capacity needs to be built for testing for other AES pathogens in the country. In addition, good laboratory systems, including standardized testing and reporting procedures, strong quality assurance programmes and and linkages with global specialized referral laboratories, need to be established to ensure quality and provide technical support to national laboratories in India. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, having played a key role as a Regional reference Laboratory in WHO SEAR JE Laboratory Network is best suited to provide the much needed laboratory support for strengthening the surveillance activities of JE in India for the GDD program. This project proposal describes the strategy that will be adopted to achieve using seven objectives of (i) Evaluate the designated JE sentinel laboratories in India using a standardized tool (ii) identification of the gaps if any in the effective functioning of the designated laboratories and suggest measures to fill the gaps, (iii) Conducting training workshops for staff from the designated laboratories (State , District and NCDC) on standardized procedures for laboratory diagnosis of JE, (iv) Identify laboratories within the network which have capacity for testing other bacterial/viral pathogens of AES and prepare a training module for providing hands on training for other bacterial pathogens, (v) Develop and put in place a protocol to ensure the quality of the laboratory network through an external quality assurance program involving JE proficiency testing and cross checking a proportion of positive and negative samples, (vi) Provide onsite support to the laboratories whenever problems arise and (vii) In consultation with CDC, India office, arrange shipment of all samples of unknown etiology to Center for Disease Control And Prevention, Fort Collins /Atlanta, USA, for further testing.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGH1)
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National Institute of MH & Neurosciences
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