Japanese Encephalitis: Azad visits Gorakhpur

October 20th, 2011 - 11:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Rahul Gandhi Lucknow, Oct 20 (IANS) Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Thursday visited the Japanese Encephalitis affected areas of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.

The disease has claimed more than 450 lives in the state.

Azad, along with Kushinagar MP R.P.N. Singh, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh and health ministry officials visited the area and held meetings with state health officials.

The health minister visited the BRD Medical College Hospital in the area where nearly 300 patients of Japanese Encephalitis are currently admitted.

Talking to reporters later, he said he will assess the situation in Gorakhpur and adjoining districts during his two-day stay and will decide on central assistance to curb the menace.

“The officials of my ministry and scientists from ICMR have visited BRD MCH several times during last two years, whenever the local MPs and representatives raised the issue in Delhi. I will visit the rural areas tomorrow,” Azad said.

According to state health officials, with three more deaths, the total number of deaths due to Japanese Encephalitis Friday reached 474 this year.

Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Akhilesh Prasad Singh said party general secretary Rahul Gandhi requested Azad to visit the eastern Uttar Pradesh area, around 260 km from Lucknow, after reports of hundreds of lives having been lost due to the killer virus.

Over 3,000 children have died of the viral disease since 2006 in the state.

Chief minister Mayawati Wednesday convened a meeting to take stock of the situation.

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