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Odishatv Bureau

Malkangiri: Panic has gripped Malkangiri district as the death toll in Japanese Encephalitis went up to 24 with the death of three children today.

While two children of two years of age—Subadri Sodi of Uskapalli village of Korukonda block and Ajaya Kabasi of Pramilapadar village— died in the morning, another two-year old child died at the District Headquarters hospital in the afternoon.

Though the district administration has set up camps in the affected village for treatment of ailing children, it has not become effective as the killer disease has assumed alarming proportions and spread to the nearby villages.

Talking to media persons, Peda Madkami said he had hoped that his 2-year-old son would be cured for which he had admitted him in the district headquarters hospital. But he died this morning. “We had sought help from the government but to no avail”, he added.

Expressing resentment over the gross apathy of the Health department, Bhima Barsha, a local, said there has been frequent death of the children in this area since last 7-8 years. But the Health department is not serious about the matter.

To take stock of the situation, the local MLA and MP had recently visited the affected villages.

Talking to media persons today, Dr Santosh Kumar Panda said a child died yesterday. It is suspected that the child might have died of Japanese Encephalitis.

Asked about the situation in the affected villages, he said a team of doctors today visited the affected villages. “Till now 21 children have been tested of which an 18-year-old girl has been tested positive”, he added.

Also Read: Japanese Encephalitis claims two more lives, toll 21

The outbreak of the disease in 21 villages in six blocks of the district was reported last month.

Official sources said Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and secretary Arati Ahuja are scheduled to visit Malkangiri district tomorrow and visit the affected villages.

After visiting the affected villages, they will have a meeting with the district administration and the Health officials and discuss measures to bring the disease under control.

The Health minister, during an interdepartmental meeting yesterday to review preparedness to contain the disease, had directed that more teams of doctors be sent to the affected areas.

Talking to media persons after the meeting, apart from the medical team, a special team of veterinary doctors will be sent to the affected villages to identity the infected pigs and have the Japanese Encephalitis virus. “Besides, the Animal Husbandry department has also decided to send a team from Kolkata which specialises in identifying the infected pigs,” he pointed out.

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