About 1,800 children permanently disabled by JE: Doctor
More than a thousand children have suffered brain damage and been left permanently disabled by the Japanese Encephalitis outbreak that has killed about 1,200 people in northern India and Nepal, a doctor said on Wednesday.Updated: Oct 05, 2005 14:59 IST
More than a thousand children have suffered brain damage and been left permanently disabled by the Japanese Encephalitis outbreak that has killed about 1,200 people in northern India and Nepal, a doctor said on Wednesday.
Of the nearly 3,000 children who survived the mosquito-borne disease — which causes high fevers that can damage the brain — 60 per cent may suffer permanent mental and physical disabilities, said KP Kushwaha, who heads the paediatrics department at BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur. Many of those are likely to suffer serious handicaps and require some form of medical care for the rest of their lives, he said.
"Nearly 60 per cent of the children who survived will live as cripples," Kushwaha said.
The World Health Organization estimates 75 per cent of survivors of Japanese Encephalitis live with some type of physical, mental or emotional disability.
The disease strikes only in Asia, where WHO says an average of 50,000 cases are reported per year, with 15,000 deaths. Many cases go unreported.
The outbreak in Uttar Pradesh and an adjacent region of Nepal is the area's worst in decades, and officials are hoping for an end to seasonal rains that create puddles and pools where disease-carrying mosquitoes breed. So far, 925 people in India and 271 in Nepal have died, most of them children. At least eight children have died since Tuesday.
But even as the outbreak abates, the state government is short of money to start rehabilitation programmes for those afflicted and has asked for help from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, said OP Singh, director-general of state health services. One victim is 6-year-old Rohit Kumar, who can barely walk after spending two weeks being treated at King George's Medical College hospital in Lucknow. "He used to be very talkative. He used to run around the village. Now he can hardly walk. His thoughts are incoherent," said his father, Brijesh Kumar, a state employee at Bara Banki in Lucknow.
First Published: Oct 05, 2005 14:59 IST