After forty-four children?s death in a fortnight, health ministry puts its acts together

JE Harsh VardhanNew Delhi (ISJ) ? After 44 children in Bihar succumbed to Japanese Encephalitis in a fortnight, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan order 100% immunization of children in select districts of the state. Acute encephalitis syndrome claimed 33 lives in Muzaffarpur district alone, while five neighbouring districts have also reported a number of deaths.

?I am extremely distressed at the runaway conquest of encephalitis and it is high time extraordinary steps were taken to stymie it. I have asked Ministry?s officials to work in tandem with their counterparts in the states to identify the most vulnerable districts within a day and the actual immunization will take place over June 22 and 23,? said Dr. Harsh Vardhan during a review meeting with health minister of Bihar and health officials of his ministry and the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said an immunization campaign on the lines similar to polio will be launched to eradicate encephalitis, which claims between 400 to 500 lives every year in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is the most important cause of viral encephalitis in Asia. It is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, yellow fever. It results in inflammation of the brain and affects the central nervous system of the patient.

According to World Health Organisation, WHO, globally 20,400 deaths, mostly children, occur due to the disease. There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving severe clinical signs and supporting the patient to overcome the infection.

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