The death toll due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in eastern Uttar Pradesh has now reached 154 with three children succumbing to the killer virus on Wednesday night.
The three children died at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur where they had been admitted for treatment.
A total of 663 encephalitis patients were admitted to different government hospitals of Gorakhpur and Basti districts in 2012 of which 154 died, said additional director, health, of Gorakhpur division, Diwakar Prasad.
He said that during the past 24 hours, 15 new patients have been admitted to BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur and the number of JE patients being treated was 73.
The killer virus, year after year, claims hundreds of lives and despite assurances from the government, no concrete steps are taken to save lives.
UP minister for health Ahmad Hasan had given an assurance in the state Assembly, a month ago, that preventive step would be taken to check the spread of Japanese Encephalitis.
“No efforts are made at the district-level to check water-logging since this is mainly a water-borne disease and at the state-level the vaccination drive leaves much to be desired. Year after year, children become victims of this killer virus but the people in the corridors of power are not bothered,” said Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal, a BJP MLA and also a renowned pediatrician, who lives in Gorakhpur.
Dr Agarwal said that 154 deaths were those that had been recorded by the hospital.
“But there are many more such children who succumb to the disease without being able to get any medical treatment. For every death that is recorded there are at least three more that die unattended,” he said.