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Tuesday 7 July 2020

Acute encephalitis in Bihar claims lives of 31 children

A team of 12 from Patna, in association with medical experts in Muzaffarpur, will ascertain whether acute encephalitis is the cause of the deaths

Patna: The health situation in Bihar is grim, with the suspected acute encephalitis syndrome (spoon fever) outbreak in the State. In the Muzaffarpur district, the number of children who died of this disease has risen to 31.

The child casualty figure is rising at an alarming rate. At the Shri Krishna Medical College Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur, the condition of many patients is still serious. Patients suffering from the disease have been kept under medical supervision.

Sunil Shahi, in-charge of the medical college, said on Wednesday, “Thirteen patients were admitted between January and 2 June, out of which three died. Since 2 June, 86 patients have been admitted, out of which 31 patients have died.”

Apart from this, many other patients are still suffering from a high fever. Given the seriousness of the situation, a seven-member central team formed in Patna by the State government is reaching Muzaffarpur on Wednesday.

The central team will team up with local doctors to investigate what caused the death of children, as acute encephalitis has not been established as the cause so far although the symptoms are similar. Bihar’s principal secretary (health) Sanjay Kumar said that 80% of the deaths were caused by suspected hypoglycaemia.

Meanwhile, the Bihar government has alerted 222 primary health centres in 12 districts of the State. Further, the authorities have been told not to be negligent in the treatment of patients.

A Bihar government team has reached Muzaffarpur, too. It is keeping an eye on the situation. Kumar told that he himself had examined the situation at the primary health centres. He said that all arrangements are in accordance with the standards.

Dr GS Sawhney, the paediatrician at the SKMCH, said that the sick children have so far been treated for the symptoms of the disease.

Fever and body cramps symptoms of disease

Sawhney said that children with AES experience high fever and body cramps and then lose consciousness. The doctors and workers at the SKMCH are now on 24-hour duty. He said that the number of such patients increased due to the sultry summer.

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