According to experts, AES is a severe case of encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes.
Patna: Death of children in North Bihar due to symptoms related to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and hypoglycemia has alarmed the state government. Reports suggest that over 84 children have died in Muzaffarpur and its adjoining districts in the last few days.
Concerned over the rising death toll, the state health department has directed the officials to distribute packets of ORS among children to maintain blood sugar level before going to bed.
After an initial study of the symptoms, the health department on Wednesday had claimed that a maximum number of children who lost their lives were suffering from hypoglycemia related disease (caused by the low level of blood sugar and glucose) and not AES.
“80 percent of the patients who lost their lives were victims of hypoglycemia and not encephalitis,” health secretary Sanjay Kumar told reporters in Patna.
According to experts, AES is a severe case of encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes. The disease mainly causes inflammation to the brain and initial symptom is high fever. It occurs mostly in summer and in North Bihar, the disease is locally known as “Chamki Bukhar” or “Brain fever”.
They pointed out that outbreak of the disease has been hitting the region every year since 1995, usually during the litchi season. Muzaffarpur is the largest litchi producing region in the country.
As per an assessment, the killer disease has taken around 12 districts in its grip especially Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran. Team of experts visiting the affected areas to study the symptoms and find reasons behind the epidemic has marked Muzaffarpur as the worst affected region.
Sources claim that most of the deaths have been reported from Muzaffarpur. Sources also dismissed the state government’s official figures and claimed that more than 60 children have died in the last few days due to the killer disease.
“Situation is alarming here as every day, fresh cases with symptoms of the disease are being admitted to hospitals here. ICUs are packed with children. Instead of hiding their inability the state health department must find ways to control the situation,” a source from Muzaffarpur told the newspaper.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar while reviewing the situation earlier had emphasized the need for creating awareness among people. He also expressed concerns over the rising cases and directed the officials to ensure that health centres and hospitals follow standard operating procedures to deal with the cases.
“Experts have been asked to monitor the situation and also launch awareness programs to inform people about the symptoms of the disease in the affected areas. People should not let their children sleep empty stomach.” chief minister Nitish Kumar said.
The health department also issued advisory urging parents to prevent their children from playing in excessive heat especially when the temperature is above 40 degree Celsius.