UP under attack from new virus

Although a majority of deaths have taken place in the districts of Gorakhpur, Basti, Deoria, Siddharth Nagar, Maharajganj, Kushinagar and Sant Kabir Nagar, some deaths have also been reported from the districts in the western region, officials said.

The officials pointed out that most of the deaths had taken place owing to the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and not Japanese Encephalitis (JE) as was being suspected earlier.

Scores of people with AES cases thronged the Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College, which  is the only specialised centre for taking care of such patients.

The new viruses have been termed as ‘enteroviruses’ and the experts say that the the patients affected by them betray same symptoms as those of the JE but the causative agent is not the JE virus.

“Enterovirus can enter the body through the gastrointestinal tract and thrives there, often moving on to attack the nervous system,” according to the experts. These viruses spread through contaminated waters while the JE Virus spreads from mosquitoes. There is no specific treatment for the enteroviruses nor is there any vaccine, they said. Meanwhile, JE has killed over a hundred people, mostly children.

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