Odishatv Bureau

Malkangiri: The death toll due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) today mounted to 44 with two more children succumbing to the disease late last night during treatment at district headquarters hospital even as the State government sent more doctors to the affected areas.

Two-year old Dasarathi Naik of Dangaraguda in the district died in the late night while Juli Kabas (2) of Kalakunda under Padia block succumbed to the vector-borne disease in the wee hours of Sunday.

Though the disease has taken an epidemic form with all the kids dying in a span of 31 days, state government rejected demands to go for immunisation currently. Health Minister Atanu S Nayak had said, "We cannot go for immunisation now as per the directive of the Centre. It (immunisation) has been counter-productive during the transmission period of the disease". The State government had sought permission from the Union Health Ministry to go for immunisation.

Shalini Pandit, managing director, National Health Mission (NHM) said- “To monitor the vector control mission and treatment of the patients in Malkangiri, a state level control room having six members including Director, Health Services, Joint Director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) and Health department Joint Secretary has been set up. The team is monitoring the situation round the clock.

“We have sent all necessary medicines and equipment including, doctors, staff nurses, laboratory technicians”, Pandit added.

On Saturday, Chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the state government is in constant touch with the Centre and has taken all possible measures to contain the disease from spreading to other areas of Malkangiri district.