Deoria: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday attributed the spread of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in the state's eastern region to the lack of sanitation and cleanliness of water bodies.
Most sources of water are polluted and sufficient steps have not been taken for their conservation, he said after distributing assisting devices to 'Divyangs' (differently abled) at a function.
"Every year encephalitis, during the monsoons, claims hundreds of lives. The main reason for the spread of this disease is that people in the Poorvanchal region (in eastern UP) do not pay adequate attention to cleanliness," Yogi Adityanath said.
A drive must be initiated to clean all the rivers, ponds and other water bodies in cities, towns and villages under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the chief minister said.
According to the WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health, UP contributed a fifth of the disease burden (20.4 per cent of cases and 18.7 per cent of deaths) during 1978-1987.
The state's contribution increased between 1988 and 1997 to 24.3 per cent cases and 20.9 per cent deaths, and represented well over half of the total cases and deaths reported in the country between 1998 and 2009, it said.
While the proportion of encephalitis cases reported from UP in 1997 was only 14 per cent, it started increasing dramatically from 1998 and in 2005, a major outbreak in UP contributed over 90 per cent of all suspected JE cases (6,061) - and over 89 per cent deaths (1501) - in the country, the journal said.
During the four following years, 2006-2009; 80.8 per cent, 73.6 per cent, 78.5 per cent and 77.0 per cent of cases respectively, were contributed by Uttar Pradesh, it said.