November 2nd, 2016
“Save our lives. Many of my friends have died of Japanese fever. You are roaming around the globe. Can’t you come over to our village and see how children are dying here.”
A 10-year-old boy Umesh Madhi narrated the ordeal of his village in a letter he wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He appealed him to help the villagers after Japanese Encephalitis claimed lives of 73 children in 505 villages in tribal Malkangiri district in Odisha.
“Save our lives. Many of my friends have died of Japanese fever. You are roaming around the globe. Cannot you come over to our village and see how children are dying here,” said Umesh Madhi (10) said in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as reported by The Times of India.
Madhi is a student of class four in Polkanda Primary School, Sikapali Gram Panchayat described the pain of parents who lost their children to Japanese Encephalitis.
505 villages in the tribal-dominated Malkangiri district have been affected in the Japanese Encephalitis and the situation has not yet been improved. The Officer on Special Duty (OSD) who monitors the situation has said that to his dismay the situation has not improved as per expectation.
What is Japanese Encephalitis?
It is a disease caused by the mosquito-borne Japanese Encephalitis virus. It is related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses and is spread by mosquitoes. Severe disease is characterised by rapid onset of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and ultimately death. The case-fatality rate can be as high as 30% among those with disease symptoms. Of those who survive, 20%–30% suffer permanent intellectual, behavioural or neurological problems such as paralysis, recurrent seizures or the inability to speak.