This Article is From Nov 11, 2016

Tribal Group Shuts Down Odisha District Over Japanese Encephalitis Deaths

The shutdown has disrupted vehicular movement and shops will continue to remain closed till late evening

Malkangiri: A tribal group has called for a 12-hour shutdown today in Odisha's Malkangiri district, protesting against the failure of the state government in containing the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis in the region.

The shutdown called by the Zila Adivasi Samaj Mahasangh has disrupted vehicular movement in the district, while shops and businesses will continue to remain shut from 6 AM till late evening today. Members of the group have taken to the streets of Malkangiri, protesting with posters and placards.

"The government has been surveying villages for a while now yet there are no immediate actions taken to control the spread. Children continue to die from the outbreak," Ghyansham Madkami, leader of the tribal body, said.

Members of the tribal group have taken to the streets of Malkangiri, protesting with posters and placards

The tribal group will also stage a protest in front of the District Collector's office on Wednesday, demanding immediate measures to control the outbreak of the vector-borne disease.

83 children have died of Japanese Encephalitis across seven blocks in Malkangiri in the span of 60 days. The disease originates in pigs and spreads through mosquitoes, affecting children between two and six years of age.

An expert team of seven members led by Jacob John, clinical virologist at Christian Medical College in Vellore, is surveying the backward district to undertake an in-depth study of the disease.

According to the State Health and Welfare Department, at least 295 children have been affected by Japanese Encephalitis, while currently 18 children are admitted in the district hospital and at least four remain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Meanwhile, at least 20 people have been tested positive for dengue in Malkangiri. A notification to control mosquito breeding has been sent to all District Collectors of the state.