Encephalitis outbreak: Admn steps up sanitation measures in Malkangiri

Malkangiri/Bhubaneswar: Though the Japanese Encephalitis death toll in Malkangiri district has gone up to 50 with the death of two more children today, the district administration has continued sanitation measures in the affected villages to stop the disease from spreading to other areas.

After visiting the affected villages in the district today, Health secretary Arti Ahuja said special enclosures have been made by the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development (F&ARD) department to keep the pigs away from the villages as a preventive measure. Arrangements have been made to provide food to these pigs. Besides, frequent fogging is carried out in and around the enclosures as well as villages to make the areas mosquito-free, she added.

“This apart, steps are being taken by Rural Development department and District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) to fill up water-logged areas in the villages with sands to stop mosquito breeding. Also, the school teachers, whose puja vacation is cancelled, are visiting the affected villages and making people aware of Japanese Encephalitis and its preventive measures”, she pointed out.

Talking to media persons, F&ARD secretary Bishnupada Sethi said a total of 9454 pigs have been kept inside the enclosures away from the affected villages of which 7040 pigs are kept in 104 government enclosures and 2414 pigs in 36 private enclosures. Veterinary doctors and Livestock Inspectors are conducting health check-ups of these pigs and taking their blood sample for test. “Besides, 17 Veterinary doctors and 60 para-Veterinary staffs are on duty at four check posts in the bordering areas of Malkangiri district”, he added.

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Stating that blood samples of pigs have been sent to the forensic lab of the Centre for Animal Disease Research and Diagnosis (CADRAD), Bareilly, Sethi said the F&ARD department had informed the former about the culling of pigs in Malkangiri district to which it has said there is no need to cull the pigs and advised the department to separate the pigs from human habitat.

Sethi, however, said as the Malkangiri collector has not proposed culling of pigs, the F&ARD department will think about alternative measures on pigs carrying Encephalitis virus.

“Since pig rearing is a major source of livelihood for the people in Malkangiri, the department will take alternative livelihood measures for the owners whose pigs have been culled,” he pointed out.