Japanese encephalitis continues to claim victims in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, where nearly 400 people, mostly children, have died since the disease broke out a month ago.
Union Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss Thursday visited Gorakhpur, where a nodal treatment centre was established to deal with the daily flow of victims from neighbouring districts, and assured all possible help from the central government in providing vaccine.
State health officials lamented the belated reaction of the central government despite 10 or 15 people dying almost every day.
"The toll is touching 400 and the disease, initially confined only to Gorakhpur and adjoining districts, has engulfed as many as 22 districts."
According to the official, 28 persons had died in state capital Lucknow, while five deaths were reported from districts in eastern and central Uttar Pradesh.
In the Gorakhpur Medical College, where four special wards were created to meet the increasing rush of patients, as many as 329 patients had succumbed to the killer virus till now. And 25 deaths were reported from the Basti division in the neighbourhood.
"Currently, we have 367 patients. We are doing our best within the given resources to handle the patients," said a senior doctor K.P. Kushwaha.
"What we really need is an additional team of doctors."