Jalpaiguri: A total 60 people have died of encephalitis in North Bengal Medical College and Hospital here and the situation in the seven north Bengal districts was `alarming`, West Bengal Health Services director Biswaranjan Satpathy said on Monday.
Satpathy, who held a meeting of chief medical officers health in north Bengal during the day, said the 60 affected by the disease had died in the period between July 7 and yesterday and a total 344 people from the area have been affected.
The situation had assumed `alarming proportions` as 24 of the 60 dead had fallen prey to Japanese encephalitis, which is considered an upper limit, he said.
The medical college does not have facilities to test other forms of encephalitis.
Jalpaiguri district was the worst hit and Dhupguri and Moynaguri rural areas the most affected because of the large number of piggeries from where Japanese encephalitis spread.
He said the number of deaths due to Japanese encephalitis was much higher this year than in 2013 when the figure was only five.
Last year the number of those affected by the encephalitis was 385 and the 115 had died due to it.
To tackle the rush of patients, two doctors have been posted round the clock at the out patients department of the fever clinic of the hospital, Satpathy said adding efforts are on to open more such clinics in north Bengal, specially in Malda.