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Encephalitis Toll Rises to 43 in Bihar, Nitish Kumar Govt Claims Children Died of Low Blood Sugar

According to a release issued by the Muzaffarpur district administration, two children died at the SKMCH hospital here where a total of 117 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) have been reported since June 1.

Pankaj Kumar | News18

Updated:June 13, 2019, 1:41 PM IST
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Encephalitis Toll Rises to 43 in Bihar, Nitish Kumar Govt Claims Children Died of Low Blood Sugar
In the private Kejriwal hospital, the total number of reported cases is 55 and seven of the children admitted since June 1 have died (News18)
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Muzaffarpur: The death toll from the outbreak of brain fever in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district has risen to 43 after two children died on Wednesday. However, top state health official maintained that the casualties were not related to the outbreak but were caused by hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia causes abnormally low level of sugar in the blood or deficiency of sodium or potassium in the body, the official said.

According to Sunil Kumar Shahi, medical superintendent of Muzaffarpur's Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, most of the deaths are due to the lower level of sugar in the body. Shahi has denied any case of encephalitis. Sources said that 70% of children who died were girls.

"We are examining the matter and we will submit our report to the principal secretary of Bihar government's health department," said Dr Arun who led a central team that visited SKMCH to take stock of situation.

He added that hypoglycemia is one of the features of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. "We are yet to come to a conclusion and will submit our report to the government," he said.

According to a release issued by the Muzaffarpur district administration, two children died at the SKMCH hospital here where a total of 117 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) have been reported since June 1.

Out of the reported cases, 36 have died till date, while 24 have been discharged and among those undergoing treatment, six were said to be in a critical condition, it said.

In the private Kejriwal hospital, the total number of reported cases is 55 and seven of the children admitted since June 1 have died so far though there was no death on Wednesday, the release said. Among the patients undergoing treatment, the condition of four is stated to be critical.

Meanwhile, the state's Director-in-Chief (disease control) R D Ranjan visited the town, heading a team of Health Department officials sent from the Bihar capital, to take stock of the situation.

Talking to reporters, he said, "We can confirm the data as on June 10. Till that date, 34 deaths had taken place and 109 cases of chamki bukhar (brain fever) reported. More data is being updated. None of the deaths, so far, has been caused by AES. The casualties were a result of hypoglycemia - abnormally low level of sugar in the blood or deficiency of sodium and/or potassium - caused by intense heat and humidity."

In Patna, Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar said, "We have received instructions from the chief minister to ensure that preventive measures were taken in the 12 affected districts, though deaths have so far been reported from only Muzaffarpur."

"Stern action will be taken against officials who are found to be lax in ensuring distribution of oral rehydration solution and spreading of awareness regarding preventive steps," he added.

A five member team of the central government on Wednesday visited Muzaffarpur to investigate the cause of the deaths of children. "Harsh Vardhan along with Union Minister of State for Health Ashwani Kumar Choubey will visit Muzaffarpur to take stock of the situation," a state health department official said.

The Health Department has also issued an advisory urging parents to prevent their children from playing under the sun when temperature is hovering between 42 to 43 degree Celsius. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a severe case of encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes. It is characterised by high fever and inflammation of the brain.

(With inputs from agencies)

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