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Odishatv Bureau

Malkangiri: With the Japanese Encephalitis death toll reaching 105 in Malkangiri on Sunday, the district-level task force committee chaired by Malkangiri Collector K Sudarshan Chakraborty today held its first meeting to talk about the launch of vaccination of kids in the district in its bid to tackle the spread of the vector-borne disease.

The house-to-house enumeration will be undertaken in the district from November 20 to 22 and detailed data on kids in between one and 15 years per house will be collected.

Elaborating about the vaccination process, Chakraborty told newsmen, “At the first meeting of the district task force committee, a comprehensive discussion was done regarding how to train teams who will be responsible for house enumeration and how to get data about 1-15 years old.”

He added, “Training will be provided to each team comprising a local teacher, ASHA and Anganwadi workers on November 17 and 18 at each block. One team will be responsible for enumeration of houses in one village of the district. A total of ten master trainers have been provided to give training to the teams in batches. As per the staggering system, not more than 100 people will be included in each batch.”

The Malkangiri Collector added, “On Monday second half, a meeting of the task force committees at block-level will be held at all the blocks of the district.”

Also read: Japanese Encephalitis: Tribal body resorts to 12-hr Malkangiri bandh

The house-to-house enumeration process will be monitored by a gram panchayat-level officer.

The collector said, “The district administration requests people of Malkangiri that at least one adult member in each house should be present during the house-to-house enumeration from November 20 to 22.”

When asked about whether the child deaths are due to JE or Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) only, the collector said, “The kids died at the Malkangiri hospital because of other diseases as well.”

Hinting that the district administration has planned to start the vaccination from 8 am to 3 pm daily from the first week of December, Uday Shankar Mishra, Malkangiri CDMO, who was also present in the meeting, said, “Tentatively we are working with a target to start the vaccination process from the December first week. However, the State government will have to take a final call as the vaccination is not given while the disease is prevalent in an area. The vaccine is effective only when the disease prevalence is low. As the district administration felt the prevalence rate has come down, the December first week has been fixed tentatively for the launch of the vaccination.”

“Once it is found out how many children in between one and 15 years are residing in the district, we will tell where who will get the vaccination,” the CDMO added.

“We will ensure no children should miss the vaccination as there is no treatment for JE. Vaccination is the only way to prevent the spread of the disease,” he added.

Also read: PIL in HC on Japanese Encephalitis outbreak

The CDMO clarified the vaccination in the district will be for the JE only.

He added, “Encephalitis occurs due to many viruses. However, the JE is given stress as there are propagation of pigs and mosquito population in the district. Besides, vaccine has been discovered for the JE only and no treatment is available for other varieties of encephalitis yet.”

Notably, four districts of Odisha including Malkangiri have been identified for the vaccination.

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