: At least 15 persons have died of suspected Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and more than 100 others are undergoing treatment in Manipur.

Dr Y. Yaima, Director, Health Services, said blood samples had been sent to the Regional Medical Research Centre in Dibrugarh, Assam, and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, New Delhi, to ascertain that Japanese Encephalitis was the cause of the deaths.

Y. Mohen, Medical Superintendent at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences here, told The Hindu that the number of patients with symptoms of JE was increasing.

He attributed the alarming outbreak of this disease to widespread rearing of pigs in villages and urban residential areas.

Official reports said hospitals had only stocks of Acyclovir medicine, which treats the disease, that had expired several months ago. Efforts were on to airlift the drug from Delhi, sources said.

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