Encephalitis kills four more in Bihar, toll 204

Four more children died of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) Tuesday in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district, taking the death toll from the disease to 204 in the last one month, officials said.

Additional Secretary (Health) R.P. Ojha said that out of 527 children detected with AES symptoms, 204 have died till date. The rest have been discharged after treatment.

Ojha told reporters here that AES, a mosquito-borne disease, has claimed the lives of 141 children so far in Muzaffarpur district alone - the highest figure in the state. Most of these children died at the Sri Krishna Memorial College and Hospital and the Kejriwal Charitable Hospital. 

As many as 48 children have died at the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) and 11 at Gaya's Anugrah Narain Medical College Hospital. Besides, two children each have died in Vaishali and Sitamarhi districts.

State health officials said they had identified 10 districts where the disease had spread. "In the last two days, the number of fresh cases of AES has reduced," an official said.The worst affected districts include Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, East Champaran and Vaishali.

Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey asked the striking junior doctors of the PMCH to resume work.

"We have cancelled leaves of doctors in the all the affected districts and alerted hospitals to provide prompt treatment," Choubey said.

"All medical colleges and hospitals have been directed to provide free medicines to patients having AES symptoms," said Health Secretary Vayasji.

Bihar is yet to officially declare AES an epidemic, which is mostly killing children from poor families.

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