In a sudden turn of events, over 1,300 people fell ill across 16 districts of Jharkhand after vaccine for elimination of filariasis was administered to the villagers under Mass Drugs Administration (MDA) campaign.
As per the early reports, 1,308 people fell ill within four days of consuming the MDA campaign drugs, out of which 433 cases were reported in Gumla district alone. In West Singhbhum, 304 cases were reported; 148 in Hazaribagh; and 117 in Sahibganj.
The health department had launched a six-day MDA programme (from April 10 to April 16) to vaccinate 2.36 crore people in filariasis-affected districts in order to eliminate the disease from the state by 2020.
However, reaction the vaccine rattled the villagers as several kids were falling for fever, vomits and headaches. The deteriorating health condition of a five-year-old boy named Suraj Kumar further stirred the situation.
Following the incident, feared villagers of Panchgarh village of Sahibganj district attacked female health staff members Gitanjali Saha and Rekha Devi on Sunday. The two attacked were health personnel involved in the MDA campaign in different parts of the state.
However, the district malaria officer (Sahibganj) Vijay Hansda and official Satibabu rescued the health staff from the angry villagers.
As quoted by a report of Hidustan Times, Jharkhand nodal officer of Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme, Vijay Natha Khanna, on Sunday said, “Reaction of drugs is natural. The drugs would react on those who have filarial parasite in their body. As the drug kills the parasite, it triggers complications like fever, vomiting and headache. So it is not a serious health problem,” he said.
After the incident, 2,800 health personnel of Sahibganj, involved in campaign, are now fearful about administering drugs to children.