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Malaria Epidemic Claims 50 Lives In Assam

At least 50 people have died and up to 25,000 affected in a malaria epidemic in Assam, officials Tuesday said. //

"Doctors and paramedics have fanned out to take preventive steps and cure those hit by the disease," Assam Health Minister Bhumidhar Barman told IANS.

The minister said 50 people had died of cerebral malaria since the beginning of April, with the eastern districts of Lakhmipur and Golaghat being the worst hit.

"We have been able to check the spread of the disease."

The northeast is a known malaria zone with the disease claiming an estimated 500 lives annually.

"We have enough stocks of anti-malaria drugs and diagnostic kits. Doctors and paramedics are working overtime in vulnerable areas," the minister said.

Anti-malarial measures in Assam have been hit hard due to an acute shortage of paramedics and auxiliary nurses.

"About 800 malaria surveillance workers need to be recruited and we had planned to fill up the vacancies in March but could not do so as the election model code of conduct came into effect," Barman said. "This caused problems initially."

--Edited IANS
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