India's worst-hit state for encephalitis turning a tide

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GORAKHPUR, India (AP) — Years of recurring encephalitis outbreaks and high fatality rates of the brain inflammation disease among children in some of India's poorest regions have revealed the cracks in the country's health care system.

But things are changing in Uttar Pradesh — India's most populous state, with millions of rural poor.

Encephalitis cases have dropped sharply because of a new network of rural clinics and an aggressive vaccination drive, potentially providing a template for other populous parts of Asia battling the disease.

In the past, patients had to travel at least 100 kilometers (60 miles) to reach a well-equipped government hospital, with a large number of them dying on the way.

Small hospitals are now being set up within 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the most disease-prone villages.

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