Monday, 18 November, 2019


Brain fever outbreak: Four more children die in Bihar, toll reaches 57

Representative image | Shutterstock Representative image | Shutterstock
Bennie Garza | 17 June, 2019, 18:00

Social activist Tamanna Hashmi filed the case in the Muzaffarpur Chief Judicial Magistrate's (CJM) court on Monday.

Bihar Bharatiya Janata Party President and Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai also visited the hospital and said the state and Central government are working together to tackle the situation.

According to a release by the Muzaffarpur district administration the four children died at SKMCH on Saturday.

Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey are accompanying Dr Harsh Vardhan. He added that there was a need for starting research on AES.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome has spread like wild fire in the Indian city of Muzaffarpur, claiming 20 lives alone on 16 June.

Doctors claim that the deaths, due to AES, are being caused due to excessive heat and humidity. All primary health care centres in Muzaffarpur will have 10-bed children's wards, the minister said.

But this year, the situation is alarming, said sources.

Most of the children with suspected AES belonging to the rural poor section (dalit, other backward classes and extremely backward classes).

This year is witnessing one of the worst outbreaks of the disease in Bihar.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced "an ex gratia payment of Rs. 4 lakh to the next of the kin of those who have died". The main symptoms of the disease are high fever, vomiting, unconsciousness, and body shivering or Chamki.

He has already directed the officials concerned to ensure that preventive measures were taken in affected districts, though deaths have so far been reported from Muzaffarpur only.

They posited that the illness might only occur with a combination of factors, for instance when a poorly nourished child eats a large number of litchis and then misses an evening meal. Lack of food combined with toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG) present in lychee seeds was the cause behind the illness. Consumption of popular local Lychee fruit has been cited as the cause of the virus' rapid spreading by officials. They also pointed to the limitations on local hospitals in providing critical care to such patients, which likely contributes to the death toll.

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