Lucknow, Aug 26 . Japanese encephalitis deaths continue to rise in Uttar Pradesh and the latest toll has crossed 220 in less than a month.
Dr.T.N.Dhole from Microbiology Department of Lucknow's Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences blamed "official apathy" for the unabated spread of the killer brain fever, which had been striking eastern Uttar Pradesh for nearly three decades.
Encephalitis is a mosquito borne disease and is continuing to spread across the state since it broke out July 29 and has also spread to neighboring country Nepal. Now authorities are rushing experts from Lucknow's Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences to the worst affected districts in the east.
A nine-member team, led by Dr.Dhole, are leaving for Gorakhpur and neighboring areas Saturday at the instance of Governor T.V. Rajeshwar, the first VIP to visit the worst affected district.
"We will carry out all necessary investigations on a cross-section of patients so that we can identify the type of virus and accordingly suggest appropriate treatment for the same," said Dr. Dhole.
Contrary to earlier statistics by the state health directorate of 1,500 Japanese encephalitis deaths in 27 years, Dhole said their survey had revealed that 7,874 people had died of the disease during that period.
He wondered why successive state governments had failed to take more concrete and permanent measures to tackle the disease.
"India is the only country where Japanese encephalitis is still being dealt with so casually," he said.
Dhole regretted that the government had not even cared to classify the outbreaks over the years as an epidemic, or at least a "notified disease".
"The result is obvious - today, countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia and even (South) Korea and Japan have managed to contain the killer disease, while we were still allowing common people to die for no fault of theirs," he added.