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Bihar encephalitis deaths: Encephalitis toll rises to 152, spreads to 20 Bihar districts

Bihar encephalitis deaths: Encephalitis toll rises to 152, spreads to 20 Bihar districts: The death toll from acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) reached 152 in Bihar, with medical officials stating that the disease has spread to 20 of the state’s 38 districts. According to officials familiar with the matter, a child succumbed to the disease late on Saturday at the Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital in Muzaffarpur — the epicentre of the outbreak.  Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) spreading in Bihar has now grasped 65 lives on Saturday. It is being confirmed that a total of 65 deaths have been reported from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar. Out of 65 deaths, 55 were reported from Muzaffarpur’s Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and remaining 10 from Kejriwal Maternity Clinic (KMC), a private hospital.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Twenty more children succumbed to acute encephalitis syndrome in the last 24 hours, taking the toll in Bihar to 93
  • Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, who visited Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur on Sunday, expressed concern over the outbreak
  • The government will leave no stone unturned to contain it at the earliest, he said

Bihar government to pick treatment tab for encephalitis patients

Facing Opposition flak, the chief minister convened a review meeting of health, disaster and education departments after his arrival to the state capital from Delhi. He ordered immediate activation of PHCs to meet the exigency where children suffering from AES or suspected Japanese Encephalitis could be admitted on a priority basis and put on saline drip.

Dr SK Shahi, who is the SKMCH’s medical superintendent has confirmed the deaths of eight more children on Saturday. So far 55 children had died at the hospital, he said.

On Saturday Bihar’s principal secretary (health), Sanjay Kumar, and other health department officials has also visited SKMCH in order to review and evaluate the situation. Kumar has also checked paediatric intensive care units, along with a team of encephalitis experts after which he had the discussions with the attending doctors.

Encephalitis outbreak: Angry relatives protest against Nitish outside Muzaffarpur hospital

The disease has affected children falling under the age group of 1-10. Maximum casualties have been reported from Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur.

Kumar said, “The central experts are of the view that there are multiple factors behind the children falling sick from the viral disease broadly named AES.” He further said, “It is high time researchers did an in-depth investigation for ascertaining the causes behind the AES outbreak.”

Doctors claim excessive heat, humidity as causes

Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is a very serious public health concern in India. It is considered as acute-onset of fever as well as a change in mental status such as mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma. The disease is mostly common in children as well as young adults and can also lead to substantial illness and also death.

Earlier pediatric intensive care units had been opened which is basically an area within a hospital specializing in the care of critically ill infants, children, as well as teenagers.

An advisory issued by the state health department stated that the children who are between 1 and 15 years were susceptible to AES and Japanese encephalitis and well-timed treatment was one of the best ways to deal with them. It further stated that the disease had spread for the reason that of extreme heat and humidity. Bihar is facing an intense heat wave.

Bihar’s main opposition party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), is being accusing the state government of being in a “state of oblivion” over the outburst. An RJD chief Ram Chandra Purve of Bihar, has also visited SKMCH on Saturday. There he met the families of the patients as well as doctors of the central team.

Purve also attacked the state government by accusing them and said, “The chief minister is in a state of oblivion, while children are losing their lives at the hospital of Muzaffarpur.”

He further added by asking, “Why has not he visited the hospital yet?”

“…the central team has expressed doubts about malnutrition, lychee, drinking water, and dietary habits as factors for the spread, and have confused the people,” he further added.