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New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that many children have died due to “Japanese Encephalitis”, which has spread in several villages in Malkangiri district of Odisha.

The Encephalitis virus reportedly develops in pigs and is transmitted by mosquitoes to human beings. The social workers and the district authorities are allegedly of the opinion that culling of pigs is not possible and the only solution is vaccination of the children, which would be done from next year.

The NHRC has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise issues of violation of Right to Health and Life of the people.  Accordingly, it has issued notices to the District Collector, Malkangiri, and the Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, calling for a detailed report including the steps being taken by them, within four weeks, according to an NHRC release.

The NHRC while issuing notices has also observed that the authorities have to be sensitive towards the need to maintain cleanliness in the area.   There is a need to create awareness among the villagers towards the health hazard which is related to their tradition of rearing of pigs, the NHRC release said. Vaccination of the children to protect them from “Japanese Encephalitis” from the next year will be too late, it said.

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