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Govt moves to combat encephalitis

With the death toll mounting and fresh cases pouring in, Govt has decided to buy the vaccine from Asian countries, reports Sanjay Sharma.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2005 20:58 IST

The Union Government has decided to purchase vaccine from Asian countries to arrest the spread of the Japanese encephalitis in Uttar Pradesh as the death toll has mounted to 789 and fresh cases are still pouring in.

The disease has taken a deadly turn in northern India affecting as many as 3,697 people.

As per the latest reports, 60 new patients have been admitted in BRD Medical College of UP's Gorakhpur district.

Union Minister of Health Anbumani Ramadoss said on Wednesday that India would be buying encephalitis vaccine from South Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and Japan following its acute shortage in the country.

In an effort to control the spread of the disease, health authoritieshave distributed 4,00,000 medicated mosquito nets and hundreds of fogging machines in the worst-hit districts of Uttar Pradesh.

The disease, caused by arbovirus, has almost become an annual phenomenon in the country with the onset of monsoon and remains active till the arrival of winter in the country. The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites or man-to-pig contact and is accompanied by swelling of the brain. The symptoms include high fever, seizures and vomiting.

Reports from Nepal said the death toll due to Japanese encephalitis in the country has reached 271.

Doctors fighting the outbreak said on Wednesday the overnight rainfall threatened to further spread disease. Cooler weather in the southern plain areas of the Himalayan kingdom and the end of the monsoon season have helped control it, but the latest downpour could provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

"Because of the fresh rain, we are expecting some new cases to arrive in the next couple of days," Dr Ganesh Bahadur Singh, the chief of Seti Hospital in Dhangadi said.

First Published: Sep 24, 2005 20:58 IST