Home India News Japanese encephalitis returns to kill 300 in Uttar Pradesh

Japanese encephalitis returns to kill 300 in Uttar Pradesh


Lucknow: Japanese encephalitis is back in eastern Uttar Pradesh and has claimed the lives of over 300 children in the past two months alone, health officials say.

The killer disease, an annual hazard for lakhs of people living across the poverty-ridden part of Uttar Pradesh, is taking taking 3-4 lives every day.

More than 3,000 children have died of the virus since 2006.

“Despite several preventive measures, the virus strikes back every year during the monsoon season, taking an annual toll of 400-500,” said K.P. Kushwaha, head of paediatrics at the B.R. Medical College in Gorakhpur, which has become the nodal centre for treatment of the afflicted.

“Since a majority of the cases converge to this medical college from all disease-prone districts in the neighbourhood, we face the brunt of the pressure,” he said. “Even right now, against a bed strength of 200, we are treating 470 patients in our wards.”

Asked to comment on the steps taken by the administration, a government spokesman told IANS here Sunday: “The government has released a special grant of Rs.22 crore to combat the menace.”

He added: “Several measures have been ordered by the chief minister to handle the problem of poor sanitation, water-logging and poor availability of clean drinking water in the vast rural expanse of the region.”

Kushwaha said: “As for our hospital, we have been assured of an additional wing of 100 beds, together with enhanced seats in our post-graduate programme so that we have sufficient number of residents on duty all 24 hours.”

The nodal hospital will also get eight new ventilators, badly needed for critical cases.