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Two die of Japanese Encephalitis
- Twin infections stalk north Bengal districts

Siliguri, Sept. 3: Two persons suffering from Japanese Encephalitis died in the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital today, a hospital source said.

The hospital official said 35 patients ailing from Japanese Encephalitis had been admitted to the hospital in the past two months.

A health department source in Siliguri said the death certificates of both patients mentioned Japanese Encephalitis as the cause of death.

“There are two deaths from acute Japanese Encephalitis that were reported in the hospital today. One of them is Shaguftara Khatun, a 15-year-old girl from Islampur, and the other is Pascal Oraon, a 45-year-old man from Malbazar,” the NBMCH official said. The two deaths are in addition to three deaths in August.

“On August 31, Sukumar Barman, 31, from Rajganj in Jalpaiguri district, died of the disease,” the hospital official said. The two others who died in August are Jyotsna Mondal, 33, from Haldibari and Kuleja Roy, 75, of Chalsa.

“I am yet to receive the medical report of the two patients who have died today and cannot comment on the issue at the moment,” said Sabyasachi Das, the superintendent of NBMCH.

“We can’t also say whether any new patient suffering from Japanese Encephalitis has been admitted in NBMCH,” Das said.

Das said he had reported to the state health department about all the patients admitted for treatment with symptoms believed to be of the disease.

“We report to the state health department on a regular basis on the number of admissions and deaths of patients suffering from Japanese Encephalitis. The health department will in turn inform the administrative officials of the respective districts to start awareness and precautionary measures to prevent an outbreak,” he said.

“Pigs and wild birds are sources of the virus causing Japanese Encephalitis. A type of mosquito called Culex is a transmitter of the disease. The symptoms are high fever, convulsions and rigidity around the neck. There is no prescribed treatment for the disease, we just treat the patients for the symptoms. Once the symptoms subside and their immunity improves, the patients start recovering,” the superintendent said.

Hospital officials said the majority of patients were admitted from Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.

“Of the 35 patients (who have shown symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis), 25 are from Jalpaiguri, six from Cooch Behar, three from Siliguri and one from Assam,” another hospital official said.

In Balurghat of South Dinajpur, Kajal Kumar Mandal, the chief medical officer of health , said he had come to know “from sources at the NBMCH that one person in the district was confirmed to have with Japanese Encephalitis”.

Yesterday, Mokseda Bibi, a 46-year-old housewife from Ulipara village in South Dinajpur died.

Most of the reports of fever are from Kumarganj block, where Mokseda also lived.

Her family said doctors could not diagnose what caused her death. CMOH Mandal has said he will send a team to the village to speak to the family.

South Dinajpur district health officials said two children — Munna Ajij Sakrar, 6, and Jahid Mandal, 9 — died of Japanese Encephalitis.

NBMCH superintendent Das said in Siliguri that a workshop on Japanese Encephalitis was conducted by a state health department team from Calcutta in the first week of August.

“The doctors and paramedical staff were trained to treat the patients suffering from Japanese Encephalitis. The team also took stock of the preparedness of the hospital to deal with the outbreak,” the official added.