Japanese encephalitis has claimed at least 20 lives in the past two weeks in the west Nepal district of Kailali,. The disease is already present in the neighboring Indian state of UP .
According to Kathmandu radio - encephalitis caused 10 deaths each in the townships of Tikapur and Dhangadi until Friday evening.
AdvertisementThe report also said that over 80 patients were undergoing treatment in various hospitals and health posts in the district.
The final death toll due to the disease in Kailali district, about 520 km west of the capital, alone could rise as all 20 deaths occurred in hospitals and most people in the district live far from hospitals.
The disease transmitted by mosquitoes affects people living in the low-lying southern plains that run from east to west Nepal. Over half of the Nepalese population lives in the southern plains.
There was widespread criticism of the government in May and June this year for its failure to procure anti-encephalitis vaccines in time. The government then promised that the procurement of the vaccines would be expedited.
Radio Nepal quoted the district public health chief in Kailali as saying that immunization campaign, along with awareness programmes, was initiated following the spread of the disease.
"Due to the free treatment facility and the immunization drive, the impact of the disease in the district has been minimized significantly," he said.