Bihar govt wakes up, concedes Encephalitis claiming children's lives in Muzaffarpur

Most deaths were reported from two hospitals in Bihar state's Muzaffarpur district

Most deaths were reported from two hospitals in Bihar state's Muzaffarpur district

The government said that 12 districts are now under watch, though the deaths have so far been confined to Muzaffarpur.

However, unofficial deaths of children from the disease are said to be over 80 as some children died in their villages before being admitted to hospital.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan will visit Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital along with Kejriwal Hospital where encephalitis affected children are undergoing treatment. "We are monitoring all this and have decided to make people aware of AES", Mr. Pandey told local journalists in Muzaffarpur.

Meanwhile, Union minister and Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai, during his first visit to the state after being sworn in as MoS Home, went straight to Muzaffarpur from Patna airport, cancelling all felicitation programmes.

According to Singh, most of the children who died at hospitals in Muzaffarpur had suffered a sudden drop in blood sugar. Most children dying of the outbreak of AES belong to economically weaker sections of the society.

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Every time there is a spurt in AES in Muzaffarpur, state and central government talk of big changes such as setting up devoted laboratories and children's wards at SKMCH, which gets the most AES patients. "We will soon be able to contain the rise in Acute Encephalitis Syndrome/Japanese Encephalitis cases", he added.

The team has also advised SKMCH to take up research and concentrate on a regular follow-up of patients. "We are in alert mode... taking no chances", he said. The disease is transmitted through mosquito bites, leading to infection that causes high fever.

At least 40 other children complaining of similar symptoms were being treated at intensive care units. The State blames the death of children under 15 from acute brain disease on "hypoglycaemia resulting from high heat, humidity and no rains".

Known locally as Chamki Bukhar, the disease claimed a record 150 lives in 2014, according to AFP.

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