New Delhi: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has written to UP Chief Minister Mayawati asking her to take urgent steps to check the spread of Japanese encephalitis in the state.

Sources in the Health Ministry said, Azad wrote the letter on Saturday and asked the Chief Minister to take immediate remedial measures for those districts which have witnessed increasing numbers of the patients of Japanese Encephalitis.

Azad has specifically mentioned the names of seven districts which need immediate attention. He has said, “There are few districts where people are dependent on the hand pump water. This is unfit for their health.”

For better quality of water, hand pump should be installed which should be 70 feet deep and for which approximately Rs 297 crore investment is required, he added.

Azad has said the findings of scientists from National Institute of Virology, Pune suggested that AES, water borne disease continued to prevail in the region as proper sanitation and drinking water were not available to residents.

Azad has even adviced Mayawati to hold meetings of all the concerned departments of her state to stop the outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES).

"The letter gives credit to the state government for success in controlling Japanese encephalitis but adds that lack of sanitation and proper drinking water were hampering the battle against acute encephalitis syndrome (AES)," a Ministry official said.

(JPN/ Bureau)