Malkangiri: The toll due to Japanese Encephalitis reached 38 with four more children dying of the deadly disease late on Wednesday night.
According to sources, four more children undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital died last night taking the toll to 38 in 28 days.
Meanwhile, raising serious concern over the spread of vector-borne disease, Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan today met Union Health minister JP Nadda to discuss on the issue.
Talking to newsmen Pradhan said, “Many children have lost their lives due to Japanese Encephalitis and the situation is very critical in Malkangiri. So I discussed with the Union Health department to provide all facilities to Health department of the state government to curb the spread of the disease.”
“The health secretary of the central government is in contact with the state government over the issue. The Union government will provide all support to the state government,” Pradhan added.
Union Health minister JP Nadda, said, “The central government is ready to provide all kind of support to Odisha government. We are in touch with the state government and asked them to provide all the details about the situation there. We are thinking of sending a team to Odisha to review the situation there”, he added.
Asked about the measure the state government has taken to contain the spread of the disease to other areas of Malkangiri district, Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said till date 105 children afflicted with the disease have been identified of which more than 25 children have been cured and discharged from the district headquarters hospital.
Talking about the steps to prevent the further spread of the disease, he said “Our first priority is to ensure clean environment in the villages and provide immediate treatment to the affected children.”
Bishnupada Sethi, Secretary, Fisheries and Animal Resources said senior scientists of the Centre for Animal Disease Research and Diagnosis (CADRAD), Bareilly are visiting the affected villages in Malkangiri district.
Stating that the district administration has started shifting of the 2385 pigs in 33 villages to new enclosures at a distance of 3 km from the affected villages, he said check posts have been set up to stop transportation of pigs from the district to other parts of the state.
“We have collected blood samples of 125 pigs and sent these samples to CADRAD for laboratory analysis to find out whether the Encephalitis virus in these pigs is present in the affected children”, Sethi added.
Shocked by the death of the children, the panicked villagers of the affected villages today killed several pigs after coming to know that these animals are the carrier of Encephalitis virus.
On Wednesday, senior Congress leader and former Nabarangpur MP, Pradeep Majhi had staged dharna with bodies of two kids, who died of the disease, in front of the Collector’s residence demanding compensation to each of victim’s family and vaccination to all children in the district at the earliest.
Taking suo motu cognizance of the media report on number of deaths due to deadly virus, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday had served notice on Malkangiri collector and state Health & Family Welfare secretary asking them to submit a detailed report including the steps being taken by them, within four weeks.