Bhubaneswar, Nov 10 (Odisha.in) Japanese Encephalitis might be the reason behind the death of 24 children in Malkangiri district in September and October, official said here on Saturday.
Joint Director of the state health department, M.M. Pradhan said a team of experts visited the affected area a few days ago and collected about 70 samples after the children, aged between two and five years,
died in five villages in the district.
Ten of the samples were tested positive for Japanese Encephalitis he told Odisha.in. The investigation results of the remaining samples are expected soon, he added. The affected children had mild fever and swelling of eyes, noses and ears. They had other symptoms similar to those infected by Japanese Encephalitis, a deadly mosquito-borne virus.
The highest deaths of eight each occurred in Potrel and Usakapalli village, about 25 kms from Malkangiri. The villages have a population of about 500 and 800 respectively.
Most of the villagers belonged to Koya tribe and they are superstitious. The villages house large number of pigs, the amplifying host of Japanese Encephalities virus. However there has been no report of new case from the district since Nov 1.