Bihar: 53 children die in suspected Encephalitis outbreak
Bihar has been reeling under an Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak, which has reportedly claimed the lives of 53 children in the past 10 days.
Reportedly, 36 children died of the disease in the past two days alone, with Muzaffarpur as one of the worst-hit regions.
Centre has already sent a medical team to Bihar amid rising cases of encephalitis.
Here are more details.
AES outbreaks routine in Muzaffarpur, nearby areas
IANS reports, dozens of seriously ill children, mostly from rural areas, exhibiting symptoms of AES have been admitted to the Shri Krishna Memorial College Hospital (SKMCH) and Kejriwal Hospital in Muzaffarpur. NDTV reports that 133 children have been admitted to hospitals.
Reportedly, AES outbreaks are routine in Muzaffarpur and nearby districts around monsoon, when mosquito breeding peaks, and commonly affects children under age 15.
What is Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)?
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)- locally known as Chamki Bukhar or Mastishk Bukhar- is a severe case of viral encephalitis, characterized by inflammation of the brain.
AES commonly affects infants and the elderly, and symptoms include high fever, headache, light-sensitivity, vomiting, confusion, seizures, paralysis, among others.
AES is most commonly caused by Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV)- a flavivirus transmitted by Culicine mosquito.
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Death toll inconsistent among reports, official statements
Meanwhile, state health department has put AES death toll at 11. IANS states that officially, there have only been 48 AES cases this year.
Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey, however, said there's only been one Japanese encephalitis-related death, attributing other deaths to hypoglycemia- severe loss of blood sugar.
Further, Principal Health Secretary Sanjay Kumar confirmed 11 AES-related deaths and 27 other AES-JE cases.
Centre forms special team to help with containment, control operations
Notably, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare formed a special medical team to help with containment and control operations on Tuesday.
Experts from National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), National Vector Borne Diseases Control Program (NVBDCP), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS), Patna and Child Health Division of the Health Ministry constitute the central team.
WCD, Health Ministries to distribute glucose-rich foods: Health Minster
Additionally, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan visited Bihar on Monday and met Pandey to assess the situation. He said, "Health Ministry is also coordinating with the Ministry of Women and Child Development for distribution of nutritious food with glucose to prevent development of AES."
Awareness campaign wasn't done properly: Bihar CM
Separately, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed concern, saying, "Ahead of monsoon, every year this disease creates havoc."
"It seems in the last two years there was a drop in the number of cases, but this time, it has hit again. The awareness campaign wasn't done properly," he added.
He emphasized on awareness, advising against letting children sleep or have litchi on empty stomachs.
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome
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