Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 24 (IANS) With the rains over, cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) have begundeclining in poverty-ridden eastern Uttar Pradesh, where the mosquito-borne killer disease has claimed the lives of 507 children in the past four months. Two people are dying of the virus everyday, a health expert said Monday.
The recent visit by union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh failed to provide any succor, say doctors.
‘Even though the change in the weather has now reduced the daily inflow of patients to the nodal JE centre at B.R. Medical College here from 40 to about 25, the killer virus was still killing at least two persons every day here,’ K.P. Kushwaha, head of the Encephalitis programme at the medical college told IANS.
Asked if Health Minister Azad’s visit to the city last week brought any help in terms of tackling the deadly virus, he replied with a ‘no’. Kushwaha said: ‘While the state government was taking care to equip this hospital with sufficient stock of the desired medicines, the union health minister simply expressed his inability to do anything about it.’
According to him, ‘the union minister went about emphasizing that since health was a state subject, he was not in a position to extend any special assistance in combating JE in Uttar Pradesh’.
‘The pressure is much less than what it was until about a fortnight ago, but we still have about 248 patients in our ward which has a capacity of 265,’ he said. The hospital received as many as 2,730 JE cases over the past four months, when JE broke out here.
‘Fortunately, the rains are over and even the waterlogged areas have dried up to prevent further breeding of the JE virus which usually grows in filth and slush,’ he said.
He urged that a concerted effort needed to be made to curb the uncontrolled multiplication of pigs – the main carrier of the virus across each of the eight JE affected districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.