Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) continues to pose a tough challenge in front of the Bihar government with eleven more deaths reported from the Moithari area of East Champaran district in the state. With this, the death count due to the encephalitis ourbreak reached the 100-mark in Bihar this morning. While 83 children had died at the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), 17 deaths have been reported from Kejriwal Hospital till Monday morning. Muzaffarpur is topping the list with highest number of cases and deaths followed by Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Sunil Kumar Shahi, Superintendent at Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) said, "Death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur rises to 100".
Besides, over 400 positive cases have been reported from across Bihar between June 1 and 17, according to reports. Of the 414 AES victims, a total of 145 have been discharged so far. While 119 patients are currently undergoing treatment, 35 children were referred to different hospitals in or outside Bihar.
Officials, however, has maintained that a majority of the victims, most of whom were below 10 years of age, had fallen prey to hypoglycemia, a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance, rather than to encephalitis. AES, which is caused by a wide range of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, is a group of medical conditions that affect the brain.
In the wake of this grave situation, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered payment of Rs four lakh as ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased and expressed grief over the children's death across the state.
Kumar also directed the officials of the Health department and the district administration as well as doctors to take all possible measures to tackle the disease. The chief minister prayed for a speedy recovery of the children suffering from suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also paid visit Muzaffarpur on Sunday and took stock of the situation. Vardhan also held meetings with doctors and the officials of the Health and other departments concerned of the state government in Patna. He was accompanied by state Health Minister Mangal Pandey during his visit to Muzaffarpur.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, who is also the Bihar unit chief of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), visited the SKMCH on Saturday. He expressed grief over the deaths and cancelled all the functions for welcoming him in view of the brain fever that has taken a heavy toll on children's lives.
Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar had said a few days ago that the disease had affected 222 blocks in 12 districts across the state. A team of experts from the Centre was sent to Muzaffarpur on Wednesday.