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In Numbers: The Dangerous Web of Japanese Encephalitis

More than 10,000 kids have been recorded dead at BRD Medical College, the epicentre of the Gorakhpur issue, due to the virus since 1980s.

Sheikh Saaliq | News18.com@sheikh_saaliq

Updated:August 17, 2017, 4:38 PM IST
In Numbers: The Dangerous Web of Japanese Encephalitis
In August, a total of 60 infants admitted to B.R.D. Medical College in Gorakhpur had died in a span of 48 hours, allegedly because of the disruption in oxygen supply.(File Photo/Getty Images)

New Delhi: The deaths of 73 children, which included 42 newborns, between August 10 and 14, due to encephalitis has shocked the nation. The incident took place in Gorakhpur – UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency.

More than 10,000 kids have been recorded dead at BRD Medical College, the epicentre of the Gorakhpur issue, due to the virus since 1980s. In the city alone, a staggering number of more than 1,000 kids die each year due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). Most cases are recorded between July and December.


Children below the age of eight are the worst affected.

With 35% sub centres in Uttar Pradesh without water supply and 31% without electricity, the health infrastructure index shows UP ranking in the bottom three among major states in India. Many reports suggest that the lack of facilities and apathy as the leading reasons for the deaths of thousands of kids every year at Gorakhpur’s BRD Hospital.


But cases of Japanese Encephalitis are not limited to Uttar Pradesh.

In Assam, for example, the number of Japanese Encephalitis cases in 2014 was 761. This number saw a marginal decline in coming years when the cases of Japanese Encephalitis were 614 in 2015 and 427 in 2016.


In West Bengal, the cases of Japanese Encephalitis were recorded at 415 in 2014 and 342 in 2015. The state witnessed a major dip in the Japanese Encephalitis cases in the year 2016, with the number at 174.


However, states like Odisha and Uttar Pradesh have witnessed a sharp increase in Japanese Encephalitis from last three years. From zero cases in 2014, Odisha recorded 33 cases of Japanese Encephalitis in 2015. This number rose alarmingly in 2016 to 242.


Uttar Pradesh, the state where the tragedy struck last week, has also witnessed a sharp rise in Japanese Encephalitis cases. In 2014, there were 191 registered cases. In 2015 and 2016, the numbers rose to 351 and 410, respectively.


Uttar Pradesh, over the years has also seen a sharp rise in AES and JE deaths. In 2014, more than 661 deaths were recorded in the state due to AES and JE.

In 2015 and 2016, the number of deaths in the state were recorded at 521 and 694, respectively. Halfway mark through the year 2017, the state has already recorded 130 deaths due to JE and AES.

If compared with other states for the year 2017, Assam has witnessed the most of number of registered cases and deaths due to Japanese Encephalitis. The state hospitals were registered with 1959 cases of Japanese Encephalitis this year. 190 of them died.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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