Muzaffarpur: Encephalitis death toll rises to 93

Harsh Vardhan assures help to ailing children as death toll mounts

An Indian child arrives in a hospital due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) as family members react in Muzaffarpur on June 10, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Five more deaths were reported in Muzaffarpur and other adjoining areas due to suspected AES (acute encephalitis syndrome) on Sunday. With this, the death toll due to mysterious disease has increased to 93.

One child died just when Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan inspected the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur on Sunday, along with his deputy Ashwini Choubey and Bihar’s Health Minister Mangal Pandey.

Harsh Vardhan was shown black flags by parents of those children who died recently due to suspected AES. The situation turned worse when the BJP MLA from Muzaffarpur, Suresh Sharma, who is also a minister in Nitish’s Cabinet, said that “disease does not arrive or spread giving prior information.”

The Bihar government has, however, denied that children died due to AES.

The health department officials have consistently maintained that “most of the deaths were due to hypoglycemia (deficiency of glucose and sugar in the bloodstream).”  

“We will provide all possible help to mitigate the problem. I have spoken to senior doctors and experts. The Centre will extend full cooperation to Nitish regime in tackling this situation,” said the Union minister after winding up his visit.  

Meanwhile, noted physician and senior BJP leader Dr CP Thakur blamed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the increase in the death toll of children in Muzaffarpur.

“The state government responded quite late in this matter. Otherwise, the lives of several children could have been saved,” said Thakur.

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