Japanese Encephalitis claims 357 lives in Gorakhpur region

November 14th, 2007 - 2:59 am ICT by admin  
The paediatrics ward of the state-run B R D Medical College in Gorakhpur is teeming with children hit by the encephalitis.

Ram Sagar, whose child has been admitted to the hospital, said the condition of his child is critical.

“My child had fever first and we were referred to this hospital; now they are saying it is brain fever. The condition of the child is believed to be critical,” he said.

The disease is caused by a virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, and affects the brain. Symptoms include high fever, severe headaches and convulsions and can lead to paralysis, coma and death.

The first symptoms of disease are severe headache, followed by unconsciousness.

Meanwhile, P. L. Rawat, Joint Director of Health, Gorakhpur downplayed the incidence of the epidemic, even as he said that at least 15 children have died from the disease.

“The number of people affected by Japanese encephalitis is less; only 96 patients have been found positive and of this fifteen children have died,” he said.

The hospital is struggling to cope with the outbreak, as many of the patients are in a semi-comatose state or in coma.

In 2005, the country’s worst encephalitis outbreak in nearly 30 years claimed over 1500 lives.

The virus is widely prevalent in the eastern belt of Uttar Pradesh and in the border areas of Bihar. In the last few years, it has assumed epidemic proportions. (ANI)

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