West Bengal: Encephalitis death toll reaches 109

Kolkata, Jul 26: The toll due to encephalitis in north Bengal rose to 109 on Sarurday after two fresh deaths were reported from Darjeeling district since Friday, a government official said today. "Both the deaths have been reported from Darjeeling district.

One was due to Japanese Encephalitis(JE) while the other one is a non-JE death," West Bengal Health Services director Biswaranjan Satpathy, who is camping in north Bengal, told PTI today. No new cases have been reported since yesterday from the area, he said. Yesterday, the name of one person who died due to encephalitis appeared in two lists following which the toll was revised to 107 and with two fresh deaths the figure stood at 109 today, he said.

Municipalities and other local bodies in the seven affected districts of north Bengal have taken up a huge cleanliness drive and have undertaken fogging activities regularly to control the disease, he added. In Jalpaiguri West Bengal Minister of State for Health, Chandrima Bhattacharya today said no 'emergency report' on the situation in north Bengal due to encephalitis had reached the head office of the health and family welfare department though regular reports had come.

Bhattacharya's statement came a day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee suspended three health department officials for not providing information on the situation at the right time. "I came to know about the situation after a woman journalist informed me here on July 15 when I was here," Bhattacharya told reporters after a review meeting on the situation.

"The state government started working on a war footing after getting the report. The situation has been controlled before it reached epidemic form," she said. The minister said 71 people died due to the disease in North Bengal Medical College (NBMC) from the beginning of the month till yesterday. Of them 21 fell victim to Japanese encephalitis and the rest to acute encephalitis syndrome.


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