2 more succumb to epidemic

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JAJARKOT/KATHMANDU, APR 22 – With two more deaths reported on Tuesday, the influenza outbreak in Jajarkot has taken 26 lives so far. As many as 3,000 people are believed to be ill.

The latest victims have been identified as Lal Bir Nepal, 61, of Ramidanda and Parimal Sarki, 66, of Pajaru. Although the government has deployed medical teams to contain the epidemic, over three dozen people remain seriously ill in Jajarkot. Residents of adjoining districts also fear contracting the disease.

Jayarupa, 61, of Talegaun-7 caught the disease while mourning the death of her husband. Dal Bahadur died last week while eight of her family members including her grandchildren have fallen sick. Some neighbours took her to a nearby health camp.

A large number of villagers are ill in 10 hard-hit VDCs in Jajarkot, with symptoms such as fever and body-ache. Many patients have no access to health services. Even at home they have not found much care as either their relatives are sick or they hesitate to stay close fearing the disease.

The case of Manshara Shahi, 45, of Talegaun-8 is another example of desperation. Seven of her family members including her husband and five children have been bed-ridden for a couple of days.

“I managed to reach the health camp but my husband and children cannot. There is no one to help them up to there,” Manshara shared her anguish. She said the health workers had replied that they cannot go to her house.

Malika Chalaune of Talegaun-9 said the sick were starving as there was nobody to feed them. “No one offers to carry them to the health camp fearing swine flu. Worse, young people have all gone to India to earn money,” said Chalaune.

SC: Deploy docs pronto

The Supreme Court has issued an interim order directing the government to deploy medical teams and medicines in Jajarkot within 24 hours. A single bench on Tuesday also directed the authorities to provide compensation to the families of the deceased. A writ petition filed on Sunday argued that the government had failed to provide adequate response despite the increasing toll.