Patna, June 18: Panic and fear gripped Bihar after the death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur jumped to 107 on Tuesday. According to a tweet by ANI, 88 kids have been killed in Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital while 19 have lost their lives in Kejriwal Hospital in Bihar. In the wake of the rising deaths, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is scheduled to visit Muzaffarpur today. The Chief Minister has also given directions to the Health Department, district administration and doctors to take necessary measures to fight the disease. Can Lychees Be Poisonous? Litchis Linked to Encephalitis Deaths in Muzaffarpur – How to Eat This Fruit Safely.
Sunil Kumar Shahi, Superintendent at Sri Krishna Medical College & Hospital (SKMCH), Muzaffarpur was quoted by ANI saying that till now, 88 deaths have occurred. 330 children were admitted out which 100 have been discharged & 45 people will be discharged today.
State Government to Bear Treatment Expenses of Encephalitis Patients
On Monday, Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar said the Bihar government will bear the treatment expenses of all encephalitis affected patients. "The ambulance facility will be free of cost. If someone comes to the hospital in a private vehicle, the fare will be reimbursed to them," he said.
Schools, Colleges Shut Till June 22
The state government also announced that all schools, colleges and coaching centres, both private and government, would remain closed till June 22 in the entire state. The Chief Secretary also directed that all the shops in the affected areas in south Bihar will remain shut between 11 am and 5 pm.
What is Encephalitis
Encephalitis is a viral disease, which causes mild flu-like symptoms like high fever, convulsions, and headache. Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey had earlier said that a team that was formed to ascertain the cause of this disease concluded that sleeping empty stomach at night, dehydration due to humidity and eating lychee on empty stomach were some of the causes of Encephalitis. All About the Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention of Encephalitis
Another High-Level Team of Doctors Sent to Muzaffarpur
Union minister Harsh Vardhan Monday issued directions for immediately sending another high-level team to Bihar’s Muzaffarpur to set up a state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary research centre in the wake of deaths due to suspected encephalitis. The health minister reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting which was attended by senior officers of the Health Ministry, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and AIIMS.
On Sunday, Vardhan had visited the families of the children suffering from AES in Bihar where doctors’ strike has paralysed medical and health services.
Vardhan, his deputy Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey visited the SKMCH.
Congress Slams Centre and the Bihar Government Over Deaths
On Monday, the Congress slammed the Centre and the Bihar government over the deaths over 100 children in the state due to suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). The party said better preparedness could have saved lives.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also posted a video on Twitter in which Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey is heard at a meeting asking for the score of the India versus Pakistan World Cup cricket match on Sunday.
NHRC Issues Notice to Health Ministry and Bihar Government
On Monday, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the Union Health Ministry and the Bihar government. The Commission sought a detailed report from them, including on the status of implementation of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Japanese Encephalitis Virus/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (NPPCJA) and other steps taken to deal with the painful situation, the NHRC said in a statement.
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a severe case of encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes. It is usually characterised by high fever and inflammation of the brain. In Bihar, AES outbreaks are a routine in summer in areas in and around flood-prone districts in the state, where the disease is locally known as Chamki Bukhar or Mastishk Bukhar. The epidemic mostly affects children from poor families, below 10 years of age.
After extreme anxiety and chaos was witnessed at several hospitals in Muzaffarpur, the Health Department had immediately issued an advisory urging parents to prevent their children from playing under the sun when temperature is hovering between 42 to 43 degree Celsius.