Two health workers were suspended for alleged dereliction of duties as the toll due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) Sunday climbed to 41 with two more children succumbing to the killer disease in Odisha’s Malkangiri. While two children undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital here succumbed to the disease, 20 more patients were admitted to the hospital today, said Additional District Medical Officer (ADMO), Kalyan Sarkar.
The number of patients with Japanese Encephalitis admitted to the hospital for treatment has touched 137, he said. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll due to the deadly disease at 44.
As the administration geared up to grapple with the situation on a war footing, two male health workers were placed under suspension on charge of dereliction of duty in Badali and Palkonda blocks, Sarkar said. Stressing that the health department is doing its best to contain the disease, he said fogging and spraying is on to check mosquito population in the affected areas.
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Meanwhile, it has been decided to provide free cooked food to pregnant women and children in the disease-hit Kalimela and Korkonda blocks of the district, Collector K Sudarshan Chakravarthy said. In order to save the people, particularly children, from mosquito bite over 8,000 mosquito nets have so far been distributed in several areas, he added.
The disease, which originates from pigs, is transmitted to mosquitoes and from them to humans. Therefore, pigs are being isolated and shifted to specially-prepared enclosures away from human habitats, officials said.
The situation in the backward district following spread of Japanese Encephalitis was also reviewed by state Health Secretary Arati Ahuja and Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM), Shalini Pandit.
Meanwhile, two senior officials including Joint secretary, health department, Ajit Mishra visited the district and took stock of the situation. A senior health official said the number of patients being taken to the hospital has risen because of the awareness drive undertaken by the government.
Initially, death figure was quite high as the patients were taken to the hospital when they were in a very critical condition, he said, adding the situation would be brought under control very soon.