With the death of two more children, the toll due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) today went up to 53 in over a month in tribal-dominated Malkangiri district of Odisha. Two children from Korkonda and Padia blocks died while undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the district headquarters hospital here, Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr U S Mishra said. Unconfirmed reports, however, put the toll at 56 due to the vector-borne disease which has affected around 45 villages spread over six blocks in the backward district where it surfaced around 37 days ago. At present, 29 children afflicted with Japanese Encephalitis are undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital and six of them are in the ICU, the CDMO said. The deadly disease, which originates from pigs and spreads to humans, mostly children, through mosquitoes, had surfaced in the district around 36 days ago, officials said. A large number of pigs have been isolated in over 140 specially set up enclosures away from human habitats, while fogging and spraying of mosquito repellents have been intensified in over 100 villages, a senior official said. The state government is gearing up to launch the vaccination drive in the four districts of Malkangiri, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanjj and Jajpur in the first phase from December. The process for the exercise would begin next month, he said.
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