CM Nitish Kumar to hold internal meeting as Encephalitis death toll crosses 100

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during an inauguration ceremony of Chief Minister Old Age Pension Scheme, in Patna.Photo)(

  • Encephalitis syndrome death toll crossed 100 in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, on Monday.
  • CM Nitish Kumar has called an emergency meeting with senior health officers.
  • ₹400,000 Ex-gratia announced for the families.

Bihar is witnessing an outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) as the death toll crossed 100 on Monday.

Ten more children died due the syndrome on Monday in Muzaffarpur district’s Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Bihar, medical superintendent of the hospital, Sunil Shahi, informed media on Monday.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has called in an urgent internal meeting to take stock of the situation. Senior officers of the Health ministry are expected to attend the meeting.

Earlier, on Saturday, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey had said that the state government is doing its best to save the children, reported ANI.

“Everything is being made available, from medicines to doctors. We have even called doctors and nurses from AIIMS in Patna,” Pandey said, adding that protocol is being adhered to while monitoring things, as per The Quint.

The minister also said that six ambulances will be operational at the hospital from Friday and a new ward with 100-bed capacity will be made operational soon, after holding a meeting with SKMCH staff.

CM Kumar expressed grief over the unfortunate deaths and announced an ex-gratia of ₹400 ,000 for the families who have lost their children.

Encephalitis and Bihar

Bihar has been affected by the disease before. In 2014, encephalitis, caused 379 deaths in Bihar. It was said to be due to the delay in implementation of centre’s ambitious project to curb the disease. The then Health Minister, Dr Harsha Vardhan had then visited SKMCH and announced a 100-bed super-speciality facility which is still incomplete. On Sunday, Vardhan said it will be operational in six months.

A 10-bed facility for treatment of children also awaits completion.

Encephalitis deaths in Muzaffarpur, and adjoining places such as, Sitamarthi, Motihari, Sheohar and Vaishali have been an annual feature for the last three decades. Another lapse in this prevailing problem was a weak awareness campaign by the government.

Director-in-Chief, Disease Control, Bihar, RD Ranjan, after his visit to Muzaffarpur on Friday, 14 June, said, “We can confirm the data as of 10 June.” Till then, 34 deaths had taken place and 109 cases of brain fever were reported. He reiterated that none of the deaths, till then, have been caused by AES. “The casualties were result of hypoglycaemia,” Ranjan told Quint.
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