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Uttar Pradesh Struggles to Contain Japanese Encephalitis

Doctors in Uttar Pradeshs Gorakhpur District are grappling to fight against a deadly viral infection, Japanese Encephalitis , that has killed at least 30 children in the past five months.

Dr. A.K.Rathi, Head of Paediatric Department, B.R.D Medical College, said that the hospital run by the college has received over 100 patients since January out of whom 30 children have so far died of the disease.

Dr. M.P.Singh, Joint-Director of state's health department said that steps are being taken to prevent the spread of the disease.

"In Gorakhpur, a vaccine was introduced last year for children aged between 1 to 15 years. We have allotted 1,24,125 doses from the ministry," he said.

Munif Ali, father of ten-year-old Ahsan, who has been admitted in a hospital two weeks ago said: Doctors are saying that my child is suffering from Encephalitis. It began with vomiting and high fever.

The symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis virus are seemingly mild, but the disease can cause meningitis and inflammation of the heart in newborn babies.

India's worst encephalitis outbreak in 2005 claimed over 1500 lives.

According to doctors, the death rate due to Japanese Encephalitis is 28-56 percent.

The deadly Japanese Encephalitis fever is caused by a virus found in pigs and wild birds and transferred to humans by mosquito bite. It affects the brain and causes headaches, convulsions, high fever and respiratory distress.

Many survivors are left mentally or physically handicapped.

Every year, Japanese Encephalitis strikes the northern part of India, especially Uttar Pradesh, raising questions of hygiene and immunization.


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