A festering unidentified disease, provisionally referred to as acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), has claimed the lives of 21 children in Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar.
With three more children having succumbed to the disease in the past 24 hours, the death roll has climbed to 21 since the first such case this year was reported in last week of Aprilh, said Muzaffarpur civil surgeon Dr Gyan Bhushan.
K a j a l Ku m a r i ( 6 ) o f Mustafapur breathed her last at the Sri Krishna medical college and hospital (SKMCH), while Anuradha (2) and Ramita Kumari (4) died at Kejriwal Matri Sadan (KMS)h, Dr Bhushan said Friday about the latest deaths.
The civil surgeon-cum-health department spokesman said six new patients had been admitted to different government hospitals and private nursing homes of Muzaffarpur over the past 24 hours.
Altogether 76 patients afflicted by AES are being treated at government hospitals and private nursing homes,h he added. This ekillerf disease, officials recalled, had claimed the lives of 264 children last year.
More than 2,000 children have been fallen prey to this disease in last two decades. Yet, till date, experts are clueless about what the disease really is and why it breaks out during the May-June period every yearh, said Dr Arun Shah, a leading medical practitioner of Muzaffarpur.
D o c t o rs t re at i n g A E S patients said the most common symptoms they showed were onset of high fever, headache, convulsions and, sometimes, seizures. Officials have insisted it was not eJapanese encepalitisf. According to Dr Braj Mohan, head of SKMCHfs paediatrics department, numerous teams of experts had visited different parts of north Bihar to collect saliva samples and blood serum of the affected children.
But, even the scientists of the national institute of virology of Pune, who visited and collected samples from various places of north Bihar failed to ascertain the exact cause of the affliction, said Dr Mohan.
Earlier, a team of experts from the national center for disease control (New Delhi), led by Dr Himanshu Chauhan, had visited the AES-afflicted children at SKMCH and KMS to examine their symptoms.
We are in talks with experts from New Delhi and other places. More samples are being collected to get to the root of this diseaseh, civil surgeon, Dr Bhushan, said.