NEW DELHI

`Mulayam Govt. failed to tackle encephalitis'

LUCKNOW: The Congress today slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for its alleged failure in dealing with Japanese encephalitis (JE) in eastern parts of the state, which has so far claimed 93 lives.

The party alleged that while the occurrence of JE was an annual phenomenon, the state government has failed to take effective steps to check its spread.

"So far not even a single minister of the state government has visited Gorakhpur where most of the patients are being treated. It is a shame that while the Governor took time to visit the area today, the Chief Minister has not even issued necessary directives,'' UPCC chief spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh claimed here.

In the last 17 days, 93 out of 340 patients suffering from JE have died while over 130 patients are still being treated at the Gorakhpur Medical College.

Patients from Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Siddharth Nagar, Basti and neighbouring districts of Bihar are being treated at the medical college.

Toll 93

The death toll due to suspected JE today rose to 93 as Uttar Pradesh T.V. Rajeshwar visited the affected district and ordered a vaccination campaign to curb spread of the disease.

A total of 93 people, mostly children, have died from suspected Japanese encephalitis or brain fever so far, BRD Medical College Principal Saudan Singh said.

The Governor visited two wards of the hospital, where about 130 people suffering from the disease were being treated, and instructed that arrangements be made to accommodate as many patients as possible.

Mr. Rajeshwar also met district administration and health officials and asked them to launch a vaccination programme to curb the spread of the disease. He assured that very soon a campaign of comprehensive vaccination against the disease would be started in the state.

The Governor also directed the health department officials to send teams of expert doctors to the area and ensure uninterrupted supply of medicines to tide over the crisis. He also cautioned doctors with stringent action if caught wanting in their duty of controlling the viral menace.

A U.P. Health Department team from Lucknow also visited the hospital and took stock of the situation.

Yesterday the officials had stated the death figure as 79. A ``technical fault'' in collecting data was the reason behind the confusion, Singh said.

Pigs are believed to be the main carriers of the encephalitis virus, which is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. People have been advised to use mosquito nets and to take other measures to destroy the parasites. -- UNI & PTI