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84 Children Die Within 2 Weeks in Muzaffarpur as Bihar Reels Under Acute Encephalitis

Since June 1, 197 children were admitted to the SKMCH while 91 were taken to Kejriwal Hospital with suspected encephalitis, but most of them were found to be victims of hypoglycemia.

News18.com

Updated:June 16, 2019, 3:16 PM IST
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84 Children Die Within 2 Weeks in Muzaffarpur as Bihar Reels Under Acute Encephalitis
Children showing symptoms of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) being treated at a hospital in Muzaffarpur, Bihar on June 11, 2019. (PTI Photo)
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Patna/Muzaffarpur: The death toll of children rose to 84 this month as one more child died of suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in Muzaffarpur on Sunday morning.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed grief over the children's death in Muzaffarpur and ordered payment of Rs four lakh as ex-gratia to the next of the kin of the deceased, an official release said.

Kumar also directed the officials of the Health department and the district administration as well as doctors to take all possible measures to tackle the disease. The chief minister prayed for a speedy recovery of the children suffering from suspected AES.

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan reached Sri Krishna Medical College & Hospital in Muzaffarpur, to review the situation prevailing due to the outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.

Harsh Vardhan, accompanied by Union Minister of State for Health Ashwani Kumar Choubey and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey, visited the state-owned Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH).

"The Ministers are holding a closed-door review meeting with the doctors and health officials to take stock of the situation," a district health official said.

Till Sunday 9 am, 83 children had died at the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and the Kejriwal Hospital, which was run by a trust, a press release issued by the Muzaffarpur district administration said.

According to the release, 69 children had died at the SKMCH, while 14 died at the Kejriwal Hospital due to suspected cases of AES.

Officials, however, maintained that a majority of the victims, most of whom were below 10 years of age, had fallen prey to hypoglycemia, a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance.

Since June 1, 197 children were admitted to the SKMCH while 91 were taken to Kejriwal Hospital with suspected AES, but most of them were found to be victims of hypoglycemia.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is scheduled to visit Muzaffarpur on Sunday to take stock of the situation. He will hold meetings with doctors and officials of both the central and state governments.

Vardhan is also scheduled to hold a review meeting with the officials of the Health and other departments concerned of the state government in Patna later in the day.

He will be accompanied by state Health Minister Mangal Pandey during his visit to Muzaffarpur.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, who is also the Bihar unit chief of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), visited the SKMCH on Saturday.

He expressed grief over the deaths and cancelled all the functions for welcoming him in view of the brain fever that has taken a heavy toll on children's lives.

Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar had said a few days ago that the disease had affected 222 blocks in 12 districts, especially in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran.

A team of experts from the Centre visited Muzaffarpur on Wednesday.

(With PTI inputs)

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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