**Malkangiri:** Japanese Encephalitis, the vector-borne disease, has claimed three more lives on Sunday taking the toll to 24 in the last in 24 days in Malkangiri district.
The deceased have been identified as Subudri Soti of Rasaka Palli village and Ajay Kabasi of Pramila Padar under Korukonda block of the district.
While another 2-year-old kid was died on Sunday evening while being treated at the District Headquarters Hospital here.
According to reports, the disease has assumed epidemic proportions in two blocks— Kalimela and Korukonda of the tribal dominated district.
“I had taken my son to Malkangiri hospital for treatment on the advice of doctors but he died while undergoing treatment,” said father of the deceased.
With the disease having assumed epidemic proportions, Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Departmental Secretary Arti Ahuja were scheduled to visit the villages on Monday to take stock of the situation.
Nayak has directed that more teams of doctors be sent to the affected areas to contain the disease.
The Minister held an inter-departmental meeting on Saturday to review preparedness to contain the disease.
A four-member medical team from the Maharaja Krishna Chandra Gajapati (MKCG) Medical College and Hospital, Brahmapur, in Ganjam district, is already camping at the affected villages.
According to the official, Japanese Encephalitis has spread in 21 villages under six blocks of Malkangiri district.
Since the disease spreads from pigs to humans, mostly children, through mosquitoes, the Government is taking steps to relocate pig farms away from the villages, said a release from the health department.
While a team of the Animal Resources Department will be sent to the affected areas, blood samples of pigs would also be collected for thorough examination, the release added.