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Encephalitis deaths drop by 66% in East UP in 2018

While a big vaccination drive was launched for JE, a massive sanitation and information campaign was launched this year to check cases of AES, which has no vaccine.

, ET Bureau|
Feb 18, 2019, 07.54 PM IST
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UP’s Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh informed the UP assembly in a written answer on Monday that 187 people died due to encephalitis in 2018 against 553 such deaths in 2017.
NEW DELHI: In some relief to the Yogi Adityanath government, deaths due to encephalitis dropped in the 14 most-affected East Uttar Pradesh districts by over 66% last year from 2017 when such deaths had dominated the headlines.

UP’s Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh informed the UP assembly in a written answer on Monday that 187 people died due to encephalitis in 2018 against 553 such deaths in 2017. The number of encephalitis cases reported in 14 districts of East UP also dropped from 3817 in year 2017 to 2043 cases last year. This also shows that the doctors were able to save more patients compared to total admissions as while every seventh patient admitted for encephalitis died during treatment in 2017, the casualty rate dipped to every 11th patient last year. In 2019, so far till February 11, no person has died due to encephalitis out of the reported 35 cases, the Minister has informed assembly.

Deaths of a number of children due to alleged lack of oxygen at Gorakhpur’s BRD Hospital in August 2017 had created a political furore, leading to criminal cases being lodged by the government against doctors and administrators at BRD hospital. This also led to UP government come up with an ‘Action Plan- 2018’ along with the WHO and UNICEF to reduce the mortality count due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE). While a big vaccination drive was launched for JE, a massive sanitation and information campaign was launched this year to check cases of AES, which has no vaccine.

Early vaccination, segregating pigs from affected habitation, immediate response teams for fogging to stop outbreak, convincing parents to not let their kids sleep on the mud floor, drink water from a ‘India Mark-2’ tap or hand pump, and calling the 108 ambulance helpline immediately if they find any symptoms – Uttar Pradesh government has been working on all this to fight AES last year.
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