Odishatv Bureau

Malkangiri: The toll due to Japanese Encephalitis reached 40 with two more children dying of the deadly disease late on Thursday night.

According to sources, two more children undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital died last night taking the toll to 40 in 29 days.

Raising serious concern over the spread of vector-borne disease, Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan yesterday met Union Health minister JP Nadda to discuss on the issue.

Talking to newsmen Pradhan had 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 had 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.

Also read: After Malkangiri Encephalitis outbreaks in Puri, Nilagiri; 1 dies

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.”

Meanwhile, a central control cell has been set up to tackle the situation. According to sources, the MD of NHM would be in charge of the cell. Moreover, Odisha Health department joint secretary Bikash Patnaik will assist the MD.

On the other hand, the Union Health Ministry in reply to a letter from Dharmendra Pradhan over the outbreak has said that it will be futile to undertake vaccination in the affected areas now. According to the ministry, the vaccination program will backfire if done now and such a program can only be undertaken prior to the outbreak.