Siliguri, July 21: The director of health services today held a meeting with medical officials of all seven north Bengal districts in Uttarkanya to assess the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis in the region and to determine the steps to be taken to prevent the disease from spreading further.
“A total of 344 cases of suspected Japanese Encephalitis have been reported from north Bengal from January till yesterday and 83 have tested positive for Japanese Encephalitis. There have been 21 Japanese Encephalitis deaths and 81 suspected Japanese Encephalitis deaths in this duration,” said Biswaranjan Sathpathy, the director of health services (DHS) of the state.
The DHS said a fever clinic would be opened at the Jalpaiguri district hospital tomorrow.
“Such cases were reported since January but the number of patients escalated from July 7. Jalpaiguri is the worst hit of all the districts and we have decided to start the fever clinic there from tomorrow. The patients will be screened for suspected Japanese Encephalitis and malaria at the clinic. We will subsequently start such clinics at Alipurduar, Birpara, Malbazar, Dhupguri, Mathabhanga, Chanchal, Cooch Benar, Siliguri, Khoribari, Phansidewa, Malda, Raiganj and Islampur,” he said.
A fever clinic was started at North Bengal Medical and Hospital today. At present there are 45 patients admitted at NBMCH and there have 16 deaths from Japanese Encephalitis. Forty nine others, health sources said, have died because of suspected Japanese Encephalitis.
Sathpathy said the health department would make arrangements for conducting the tests at Malda Medical College and Hospital too.
“We will start fogging in areas like Dhupguri, Mainaguri and Mathabhanga, which are worst hit from tomorrow,” he said.
“The local bodies will be asked to shift the piggeries away from residential areas,” he added.
Later in the day, Sathpathy visited NBMCH. A team from the National Institute of Virology based in Pune is likely to visit NBMCH tomorrow.
A delegation of BJP leaders, led by Siliguri district BJP president Rathindra Bose, visited NBMCH today. “We found that the patients are staying in horrible conditions and in an unclean environment. We have spoken to the superintendent and have asked him to take appropriate steps.”