The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has reached 97 in Muzaffarpur and the adjoining districts in Bihar. Most of the casualties are between the age group of 1-10.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan visited the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur on Sunday where maximum number of children have died in the last two weeks due to the Syndrome which is locally called the ‘Chamki’ fever.
A 5-year old girl, who was undergoing treatment at SKMCH, died in front of the Dr. Harsh Vardhan in the Intensive Care Unit.
Harsh Vardhan spent four hours at the hospital reviewing the situation arising out of sudden spurt in the number of deaths. However, he did not find any fault with the lack of facilities at the hospital and backed the doctors for their efficiency in dealing with the crisis. He also advocated setting up of a research institute to identify the reason behind the disease.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “The doctors here at the hospital are doing their best under such a difficult situation in treating the children. A multi-disciplinary institute will be set up here in the next one year to identify the reason behind this disease.”
In 2014, a similar AES outbreak claimed 379 lives. Harsh Vardhan, who was the Union health minister in the Centre then had visited the hospital and declared slew of measures to contain the crisis but even after five years, the situation on the ground has not changed much.