Brain fever claims lives of 103 children in Bihar's Muzaffarpur
17 June 2019
At least 103 children have died of acute encephalitis (brain fever) in two hospitals in Bihars Muzaffarpur over the last few days. While 85 children died in Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), 18 other children lost their lives in Kejriwal hospital in the city, according to official data.
Ten new cases of AES were admitted to the SKMCH on Monday while five new cases were brought to the Kejriwal Maternity Clinic (KMC).
Superintendent of the SKMCH, Sunil Kumar Shahi, confirmed deaths of 85 children whereas the civil surgeon of the district, Dr S P Singh confirmed 18 deaths at the KMC.
Dr Gopal Shankar Sahni, head of pediatric department of the SKMCH said that many children who reported convulsion coupled with high fever, died of hypoglycemic, a condition of low blood sugar.
Manoj Kumar, executive director of Bihar’s State Health Society confirmed that cases of AES were also reported from Samastipur, East Champaran and Vaishali.
“Eleven children each, suffering from AES, have been admitted so far at our health facilities in Samastipur and Vaishali. Another six cases were admitted in East Champaran for treatment this year,” said Kumar.
In the wake of fatalities due to AES, chief minister Nitish Kumar had earlier announced an ex-gratia of Rs4 lakh each to families of the deceased.
He had also given directions to the health department, district administration and doctors to take necessary measures to fight the disease.
The ongoing doctors stir has made Bihar’s battle against the surge in AES cases and heat-related deaths even more difficult.
This year has witnessed the worst outbreak of encephalitis in the state, aided by the long spell of high temperatures combined with excess humidity, said Dr Sahni.
Meanwhile, Tamanna Hashmi, a social worker, has lodged a complaint with the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Surya Kant Tiwary, against the union health minister Harsh Vardhan and Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey, for ‘negligence resulting into death of over 100 children, blaming them for carelessness in launching disease awareness campaign and flip-flops in starting medical research to identify the virus and other causes that led to death of children’.
The CJM heard the complainant and fixed June 24 for next hearing.
Over 146 children were reported to be under treatment for the disease, which occurs in seasonal outbreaks every summer.
State and central government authorities have said they are doing everything possible to treat the sick children.
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, caused by any one of a number of viruses. Symptoms include high fever, vomiting and, in severe cases, seizures, paralysis and coma. Infants and elderly people are particularly vulnerable.
Five years ago, a similar outbreak killed about 380 people in Bihar.