37 children die of acute encephalitis, Bihar government blames low blood sugar
Two more children died of suspected acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on Wednesday, taking the official toll to 37. But a top official in the Nitish Kumar government said that the deaths were caused due to hypoglycemia—low blood sugar level
“Two more children died today due to AES at the Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital (SKMCH), Muzaffarpur, taking the death toll up to 37,” said Bihar’s principal secretary, health, Sanjay Kumar. He, however, conceded he did not have figures of the Kejriwal Maternity Clinic (KMC), Muzaffarpur, where many children with symptoms of AES are undergoing treatment. “Till Monday, 28 children had died of AES at the SKMCH and seven at the KMC.”
So far 143 cases of AES have been reported from 11 districts of Vaishali, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, East Champaran, Patna, Nalanda, Muzaffarpur, Jehanabad, Gaya, Bhojpur and Aurangabad.
The state’s Director-in-Chief (disease control) R D Ranjan visited Muzaffarpur heading a team of health department officials from Patna.
“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. 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,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
A central team of experts arrived in Muzaffarpur on Wednesday day to take stock while union minister of state for health Ashwini Kumar Choubey was scheduled to reach on Thursday.
The seven-member central team, headed by senior paediatrician Dr Arun Singh, national advisor of the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram, ministry of health and family welfare (MoH&FW), would review the situation arising from surge in AES in Muzaffarpur and assist the state in control of the disease. The team has been asked to submit its report to the director-general of health services.