| Union health minister Harsh Vardhan oversees the vaccination drive of Japanese encephalitis at Kanti primary health centre in Muzaffarpur on Sunday. Picture by Lokesh Bihari |
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan launched an immunisation drive for Japanese encephalitis (JE) at Shahbazpur village in Kanti block, around 20km west of the town, on Sunday.
The district health department had planned to launch vaccination programme for the virus in primary health centres (PHCs), additional PHCs and government hospitals on June 22 and 23 to combat further viral infections.
From Shahbazpur village, the minister rushed to Kanti primary health centre to take stock of rural healthcare and administered vaccines to over 57 children in the age group of nine months to 15 years.
Accredited social health workers, anganwadi sevikas and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) toured the countryside areas and brought the children to nearby PHCs for vaccination.
Vardhan said: “The JE vaccination should be administered to children from nine months to 15 years of age. Around 92 per cent children who fell ill of suspected acute encephalitis syndrome had not been immunised. The routine immunisation should be strengthened.”
“The JE vaccination would protect vulnerable children falling prey to the viruses of suspected acute encephalitis syndrome. The health officials should monitor the JE vaccination scheme throughout the year,” Vardhan said.
The Union minister said the Centre would provide all help to the state government to save lives of affected children in Muzaffarpur and its adjoining areas. “I will talk to the director of Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, US, on June 26 for an in-depth investigation to identify the virus. The international experts have already collected blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from the ailing children for laboratory investigation in Atlanta. “
Intermittent downpour for the past 24 hours and fall in temperature have slowed down admissions of new cases to the Kejriwal Maternity Clinic and Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH). “The number of new admissions here has dipped because of fall in temperature,” SKMCH deputy superintendent Sunil Shahi said.
Sources in the administration said in the past 24 hours, only four patients have been admitted to SKMCH and two to Kejriwal Maternity Clinic.
District magistrate Anupam Kumar said: “The death toll of affected children reached 132. Altogether, 728 children have been admitted to the SKMCH, Kejriwal Maternity Clinic and PHCs. Of them, 325 children have been cured. Eleven mobile medical units have covered 145 villages and treated 2,512 children on the spot and taken 12 to the hospitals.