Encephalitis virus claims over 100 lives in Bengal

Encephalitis virus claims over 100 lives in Bengal

Encephalitis virus claims over 100 lives in Bengal

The onslaught of fatal encephalitis across seven districts in north Bengal has put the state administration on a war-footing as the toll crossed the 100-mark on Wednesday.

While the disease continues to spread, a team of specialists from Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi reached West Bengal to help doctors appointed by the state government.

According to government sources, the total number of fatalities stands at 113 as of Wednesday, with four more people succumbing to the disease in the last two days.

While the North Bengal Medical College & Hospital alone, where most of the patients are admitted, reported 69 deaths since the disease was first detected in January, the state administration expressed concern with the local medical fraternity seemingly clueless on how to deal with the crisis.

Even though the state government is trying to keep the whole matter under wraps, sources said that eight of the 40 patients admitted to the North Bengal Medical College & Hospital tested positive for Japanese encephalitis, a variant that is deadlier than the local strain detected. Besides, experts from the Delhi-based hospital, the sate government is also taking help from specialists of the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

Experts from the Delhi hospital, who started for Jalpaiguri after reaching Kolkata on Tuesday, are also expected to tour the affected areas and take stock of the situation at the North Bengal Medical College & Hospital.

Even though the state government has sounded an alert for encephalitis in all the seven districts of north Bengal, doctors on field are facing problems due to lack of proper facilities to treat large number of patients.

While doctors at the North Bengal Medical College & Hospital are fighting to contain the local strain of encephalitis, it does not have the necessary equipment to detect the deadlier variety.

With NBMCH being the only referral hospital in the region, the infrastructure is stretched to the seams, making things even more difficult for doctors.Director of state health services, B R Satpathy, who called the situation “alarming”, said that till July 20, Japanese encephalitis claimed 21 lives and the local strain claimed the lived of 81 people.

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