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Encephalitis spreads beyond Muzaffarpur: to Vaishali, Samastipur, Sheohar…


Acute Encephalitis Syndrome : mystery unsolved

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome : mystery unsolved

Patna: Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), so far limited to Muzaffarpur district, has now spread to neighbouring districts of Vaishali, Samastipur, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and East Champaran as 33 cases were reported from these districts recently. Confirming the spread of the disease, Principal Secretary of Health Department, Deepak Kumar, said, “Cases have been reported from adjoining districts of Muzaffarpur. We are providing all facilities for treatment of the ill children.”

The spread of AES has put the state government on its toes, as the mortality rate of the disease is very high at around 26 per cent. Researchers have failed to isolate the virus, or any other agent responsible for causing it. Meanwhile, the death toll in Muzaffarpur due to the disease climbed to 31 with seven more children perishing in the last 24 hours. The number of kids being admitted to the hospitals there has also shot up from 83 to 107. The parents of children who are contracting the disease are rushing them to Muzaffarpur to admit them in state government’s Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and the private Kejriwal Hospital. Giving details about children from other districts, Muzaffarpur Civil Surgeon, Dr Gyan Bhushan, said maximum cases have been reported from East Champaran, where 20 children have fallen ill. Seven cases are from Sitamarhi, three from Vaishali, two from Sheohar and one from Samastipur.

“In the absence of no knowledge of what causes this syndrome, we are providing symptomatic treatment to the children. Based on past experience, we expect the incidence of the disease to dip sharply once the monsoon breaks over Bihar. “Before that, heat and humidity will keep providing ideal conditions to the spread of the disease,” said Dr Bhushan.

The symptoms vary from high fever, body ache, weakness and stiffness of limbs to meningitis and coma. Usually the syndrome affects malnourished kids. AES is reported mainly from Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which contribute around 80 per cent cases in the country.

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