Suspected cases of Japanese Encephalitis takes death toll to 24 in Odisha

BHUBANESWAR,Oct3: The State Government on Sunday sent two more teams of doctors to Malkangiri district which has been witnessing deaths of children due to suspected Japanese Encephalitis (JE) at a regular interval.

The vector-borne disease has claimed three more lives in Malkangiri taking the toll to 24 in the last 23 days. Six children have died in last three days spreading panic among villages. While three infants died on Friday, two died on Saturday and one at Malkangiri district headquarters hospital on Sunday.

Earlier, a four-member medical team from MKCG Medical at Berhampur was camping at the affected villages to treat patients. After a review meeting on Saturday, the Health and Family Welfare department has sent one more team from the MCH and another team from Bhubaneswar to treat the affected children. “The three teams would camp in the district till the disease is fully controlled. Besides, relief health camps have been opened in the villages where the disease has assumed alarming proportions. Parents of the affected children are being advised to get the affected admitted in the headquarters hospital,” said a senior health official.

With the disease taking epidemic proportions in Malkangiri Sadar, Kalimela and Korukonda blocks, the district administration has intensified mosquito eradication and cleaning programmes in the affected areas to control the spread of the disease. The veterinary officials have collected serum samples from pigs and sent to Bareilly-based Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI). They have also initiated steps for isolation of pig population since pigs act as carrier of Japanese Encephalitis.

The disease is transmitted not by contact of the carrier.But by the vector mosquitoes of Culex/Ades species which are usually active during dusk and dawn. That’s why vector control has much importance to prevent the transmission of virus from pig to pig and pig to human.

“The health officials during their visit to the affected areas had witnessed huge population of pigs close to the human habitations. The residents have been asked to rear pig away from human habitations to minimise the chance of human infection,” the official added.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Secretary Arti Ahuja are likely to visit the affected areas in the district on Monday.