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Viral vaccine over in two districts

Aug. 1: Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts have exhausted their stock of the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine and fresh consignments are expected by Sunday, a district health official said today.

The claim, however, was denied by the state director of health services.

The vaccine can be administered to children from six months to 15 years.

Prakash Mridha, the chief medical officer of health of Jalpaiguri, said: “It is true that no stock of JE vaccine is left with us. We have asked the state health authorities in Calcutta to send the vaccine. There is a similar shortage in Alipurduar district.”

He added: “We are expecting the vaccines to reach us by Sunday.”

Biswaranjan Satpathy, the director of health services of the state, however, said: “There is no dearth of the JE vaccines in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts. As far I know, there are 1.90 lakh units of vaccines in these districts. Even if there was any shortage, we have adequate stock of vaccines at the state level,” he said.

The family of a year-old boy with Japanese Encephalitis-like symptoms who died in Jalpaiguri district hospital today have said the child was not vaccinated and could have lived had the vaccine been available.

“The health workers told us that no vaccine is available. Had there been a vaccine, our child could have been saved,” said Bijoy Thakur, a Dhupguri resident.

In Siliguri, seven patients with Japanese Encephalitis-like symptoms were admitted to NBMCH in the past 24 hours.

Today, 55-year-old Ajay Kuzur, a resident of Bagdogra, died of a suspected viral attack in NBMCH, taking the toll to 119 deaths since January this year.

One person has also died from tuberculous meningo encephalitis. Manik Barman, 28, an inmate of the Siliguri Special Correctional Home, died of tuberculous meningo encephalitis yesterday. He was admitted to NBMCH on July 22.

“Meningo encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain caused by viral, bacterial or fungal infections. In the case of this patient, he was suffering from tuberculosis, so it is the main cause for inflammation of the brain. It is not a case of the AES where a patient acquires and severely suffers from a disease and dies within a span of five to six days,” an NBMCH doctor said.