Japanese Encephalitis outbreak causes 215 deaths in India, mostly children


This year’s Japanese Encephalitis season came earlier and deadlier to India than previous years. Officials report that since July, 215 people have died from the disease, most of them children and occurred in the Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh. Local health officials worry that the number of encephalitis patients may reach at least 3,500 with a case-fatality rate of 20% while over 70 million children are at risk of the disease. As Japanese Encephalitis is transmitted by mosquitoes, the heavy rain and flooding brought in by the arrival of monsoon season have only exacerbated the severity of the outbreak. Hospitals are currently heavily under-staffed and have expressed frustration by the government’s inadequate response.

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