AS THE report of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) cases trickled in from Gorakhpur and its adjoining districts, the Health Department has sounded the alarm.
Director-general (Medical Health) Dr B Nath said that the Department was all set to tackle the disease and treat the patients. “The BRD Medical College officials have been directed to arrange extra beds. We will despatch doctors and drugs to Gorakhpur if there is a demand from the local officials,” she said.
This year, JE had already claimed the lives of 45 children and 226 children were infected with the disease, she added.
The worst-affected areas were Gorakhpur district (73 cases and 11 deaths), Kushinagar (56 cases and 12 deaths), Maharajganj (41 cases and nine deaths), Deoria (19 cases and one death).
The cases of JE have been also reported from Sant Kabir Nagar (12 cases), Basti (10), Siddharthnagar (nine), Azamgarh (two), Mau (one), Ballia (one), Gonda (one) and Balrampur (one).
Previous year, the JE assumed an epidemic form in 34 districts. While 5,581 children were inflicted with the disease, 1593 died.
In the aftermath of the spread of the disease, the State and the Central governments decided to organise a vaccination programme to protect the children from it.
It was decided to counter JE with Chinese vaccine. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare imported single dose tissue culture Chinese vaccine called ‘SA14-14-2’ for vaccination programme in six districts of East UP. The vaccination programme was organised in May and according to the data of the Health Department, around 70 lakh children between the age group of 0- 5 years were vaccinated.
The disease, which is spreading its tentacles in the rural areas of East UP, has caused anxiety among the officials of the Health Department.
Replying to a question regarding the outbreak of the disease despite the massive vaccination drive, Dr Nath said that during the laboratory test of one dozen samples it was found that 11 children were not immunised and only one child who got the vaccine was already afflicted by the disease.
“Majority of these children have migrated from Nepal and Bihar,” she said.
A team of doctors from Vector Borne Disease Institute, Pune and State Epidemic Disease Department visited Gorakhpur to take stock of the situation. After returning from Gorakhpur, the team has submitted its report to the DG (Medical Health) on Thursday.