Five more children died due to ailments during the past one week in Malkangiri district. The deaths were reported from Mathili block of the district. Encephalitis is said to be the cause for some of the recent deaths.

Some 24 children below the age of five years died during a period of two months in Uskapali and Potrel of Korkunda block and Pardhqanguda, Mundaguda, Tarkiguda on the outskirts of Malkangiri town. Tests conducted by experts from the Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar and MKCG Medical College Hospital, Berhampur, ascertained at least 11 of them were the victims of encephalitis.

When contacted, Malkangiri Additional District Medical Officer Padmanabh Acharya said medical teams sent to Mathili block came back with details of recent deaths. Blood and swab samples of victims and some other ailing children of the area were sent for tests.

All these five deaths occurred within past one week. A three-year-old male child died at Sindhibeda village on Tuesday, while a two-year- old girl of Pujariguda village died on November 9. A girl died at Mathili block colony on Monday, while her 15-day-old sister died the next day. An infant from Khairaput block died in Mathili hospital on Monday.

Dr. Acharya said symptoms of at least three children indicated that suffered from encephalitis. They developed fever, drowsiness, and vomiting tendency and died within a few hours. “Others may have died due to other causes, but we are making detailed investigation to ascertain the cause,” he said.

“We have started spraying and taking awareness measures to control mosquito population in the area. Our first aim is to make the tribal people reach out to nearest hospital in case of ailment of children rather than approaching local traditional healers,” the ADMO said.