Incident Reports

Jajarkot outbreak toll hits 15


Karnali, Jajarkot, Kuse

The unknown epidemic that has been spreading at an alarming rate in Jajarkot district for over two weeks has claimed four more lives in the past two days taking the total death toll to 15. The death toll has increased at a time when the government authorities have been claiming that the disease has already been brought under control. Maisara Singh, Mangali Pariyar, and Seti Kami of Talegaun VDC, who were suffering from the disease, breathed their last on Tuesday. Hasta Bahadur Nepali of the same VDC had died of the disease on Monday. Maisara had suffered from the disease since the last three days while Mangali and Seti had been infected with it for the last two days, according to Dhan Bahadur Singh, the principal of Manedhunga Higher Secondary School. He informed that over 150 locals of Talegaun are infected with the disease. Hari Devi Bhattarai, a local, said that Hasta Bahadur Nepali who died on Monday had been suffering from the disease for the last three days. According to locals, the deceased had complained of fever, cough, severe headache and vomiting. However, affected Talegaun village is facing an acute shortage of medicines, according to them.

Following the four new deaths, a team led by Pranaya Karki, a Nepal Army doctor, has been sent to the affected areas from district headquarters, Khalanga, according to Chief District Officer (CDO) Jagat Bahadur Basnet. So far, the disease has claimed a total of nine lives in Painka VDC, one in Achharni VDC and five in Talegaun. Shortage of medicine in these areas has made them terror-stricken as the authorities have yet to bring the epidemic under control. Earlier, two weeks after the infection was reported, medicines and doctors had been dispatched to the affected areas, but with the patient numbers increasing rapidly, there is the urgent need of more medicine, according to locals. Although the government authorities have been putting in their best efforts to bring the disease under control, the infection has been spreading continuously, according to locals. Over a thousand locals from different villages have already been infected with the disease. Meanwhile, Dr Rajendra Panta, chief of Mid-Western Regional Health Directorate, Surkhet, said that the disease has been identified as seasonal flu based on the report of the National Public Health Laboratory, Teku in Kathmandu, where the samples of blood, cough and stool belonging to the patients were sent from Jajarkot district. Dr Panta said that the outbreak of the seasonal flu is the result of unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation. He also warned the locals of stay on high alert as the disease is communicable. 'We"ve arranged an additional team of doctors and specialists in Nepalgunj and Kathmandu for dispatch to the affected areas,' said Dr Panta, adding that additional medicines will be delivered there soon. Health workers deployed in the affected areas have claimed that the spread of the epidemic has been brought under control.

However, Keshav Jung Shah, a civil society leader, alleged that health workers" did not do enough to prevent the outbreak at its initial stage. Most of them are not attending their duties at health posts regularly, according to him. The epidemic is reported to be the results of unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation in the affected areas. But, the latest report shows that the district has maintained a better status of drinking water and sanitation, which is 81.21 per cent. If that is the case, the past efforts of the government and non-government agencies have gone into vain.