With the death of one more child, the toll in Japanese Encephalitis outbreak today rose to 54 in over a month in Odisha's Malkangiri district, even as the BJP slammed the state government accusing it of failing to contain the disease. A two-year-old girl from Padia block died while undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit of the district headquarters hospital here, taking the toll to 54, Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr U S Mishra said. Unconfirmed reports, however, put the toll at 57. The vector-borne disease has affected around 45 villages spread over six blocks in the tribal-dominated Malkangiri district. At present, 29 children, afflicted with the disease are undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital and four of them are in the ICU in a serious condition, the CDMO said. So far, 105 out of the 184 children admitted to the district headquarters hospital here with JE have been discharged after being cured, he said. The deadly disease, which originates from pigs and spreads to humans, mostly children, through mosquitoes, had surfaced in the district around 38 days ago, officials said. A large number of pigs have been isolated and shifted to over 140 specially set-up enclosures away from human habitations, while fogging and spraying of mosquito repellents have been intensified in more than 100 villages, a senior official said. Opposition BJP hit out at the BJD government accusing it of having failed to check the spread of the Japanese Encephalitis. BJP's Odisha unit General Secretary Bhrugu Buxipatra alleged that as per reports collected from different villages of Malkangiri, the disease has claimed the lives of more than 150 children in the backward district, but the state government was trying to hide the facts. Claiming that the disease had spread to at least 99 villages spread over six blocks of Malkangiri, he asked the state government to make public a detailed list of distribution of 60 lakh mosquito nets supplied by the Centre. The deaths due to JE in Malkangiri district were due to the delay in the distribution of mosquito nets, he said. He claimed that the state government, which had announced plan to distribute 30 lakh mosquito nets, has provided only 11,000 till date which are not sanitised. Unfortunately, the state government has not provided financial assistance to the families of the children who died of JE, the BJP leader claimed.
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