25 Percent Children Affected by Japanese Encephalitis Die

Thursday, 29 December 2011, 14:40 Hrs
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New Delhi: Government today admitted that 25 per cent of children affected by Japanese Encephalitis die while 40 per cent of those who survive become mentally or physically handicapped, but maintained that effective steps were being taken to tackle the disease.

Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad said during a Calling Attention Motion in the Lok Sabha that "Japanese Encephalitis is a major public health challenge which has affected children in Gorakhpur and Basti districts of Uttar Pradesh, parts of Orissa and Chattisgarh."

"25 per cent of children affected by this disease die while 40 per cent of those who survive become physically challenged or lose their mental balance," Azad said.

Sharing data, Azad stated that 1,133 deaths were reported in 2011 alone. Of these, 575 deaths were reported in Gorakhpur and Basti divisions of UP, 250 in Orissa and 197 in Bihar.

He said that "since 2006 vaccines have been introduced and these have brought down the number of JE cases from 36 per cent to 6.4 per cent of the population."

"A Group of Ministers (GOM) has been appointed by Prime Minister to deal specifically with the issue and it has held three meetings till date," Azad said.

Yogi Adityanath (BJP), who had moved the Calling Attention Motion, expressed dissatisfaction with the Minister's contention and said though over one lakh deaths have taken place in the last 33 years in just seven districts of UP, the government has not done anything substantial. "It is still not clear if these deaths are caused by JE or something else," he said.

Source: PTI
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