Encephalitis kills 7 more children, toll reaches 50
Seven more children died of acute encephalitis syndrome in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district on Thursday, taking the death toll from the vector-borne disease to 50, officials at the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital (SKMCH) said.
Although Bihar’s principal secretary, health, Sanjay Kumar, put the death toll at 47 [till 10 am], SKMCH medical superintendent Dr Sunil Kumar Shahi said three more deaths were reported in the afternoon. Of the 145 patients of AES admitted at the hospital this year, 34 are still undergoing treatment, Dr Shahi added.
Encephalitis is a viral infection which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as fever and headache.
Of the 50 deaths, 48 have been reported in June, prompting the Centre to dispatch a seven-member team to the state. The team on Thursday held a meeting with SKMCH officials after examining patients, scrutinising treatment protocol and collecting serum samples, doctors said.
“The central team is of the opinion that maximum cases reported are due to ‘encephalopathy’. It approved our treatment protocol,” said Dr Sunil Kumar Shahi, SKMCH superintendent.
The team asked SKMCH authorities to set up a separate research wing under the departments of microbiology and pathology to study the disease. “The team advised us to preserve serum samples of patients and examine them after 15 days, and do a follow-up,” added Dr Shahi.
It also proposed to increase the bed strength of paediatric intensive care unit at the SKMCH, from existing 14 to 100, the superintendent said.
The team has been asked to submit a report to director-general health services.
Over 154 cases of AES have been reported from 11 districts of the state.