The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has risen to 100 in Muzaffarpur, Bihar today (Monday, June 17) reported news agency ANI.
Sunil Kumar Shahi, Superintendent at Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), told ANI: “Death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur has risen to 100.”
According to official data, 83 children have died in Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), while 17 have lost their lives in Kejriwal hospital in the city.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s office issued a statement expressing grief over the children’s death in the state and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh for each of the children who died in the outbreak. He has also directed officials of the health department, the district administration and doctors to take all possible measures to tackle the situation.
Yesterday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan visited the SKMCH and assured that a 100-bed children ward would be set up. The minister said the Centre would set up a state-of-the-art research centre in Muzaffarpur within a year to deal with the menace of the disease.
Protests from families of patients and black flags waving supporters of Jan Adhikar Party greeted Vardhan. Patients’ relatives complained to the Union Health Minister about the lack of facilities and poor response from doctors and nurses.
Harsh Vardhan met multi-disciplinary teams deployed at the Ground Zero of the outbreak and addressed a state-level review meeting.
“I have personally talked to every concerned individual about this issue. I have talked to every official and every minister to ensure that everything is being done to fight this disease,” Harsh Vardhan said after the review.
Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar had said a few days ago that the disease had affected 222 blocks in 12 districts, especially in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran.
Last week, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey had said 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.
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, a viral infection, is a bunch of diseases that include hypoglycemia, dyselectrolytemia, chicken pox, Japanese Encephalitis positive and AES unknown. AES outbreaks are routine in areas in and around Muzaffarpur during summer, and mostly affects children below 15 years of age.
AES affects the central nervous system. It starts with high fever, then hampers neurological functions causing mental disorientation, seizure, confusion, delirium, coma. This year has been one of the worst outbreaks of the disease in Bihar.