Bihar's Muzaffarpur district has again been hit by encephalitis with 6 children dead in the last twenty-four hours. The death toll has risen to 9 and over two dozen children suspected to have contracted the illness have been admitted to different hospitals.
On Thursday, 3 children died of suspected encephalitis in Muzaffarpur and three died on Wednesday, district civil surgeon Gayan Bhusan said.
Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi held a high-level meeting with health officials to take stock of the situation on Thursday.
Manjhi said that a high level team of experts from Patna will visit Muzaffarpur on Friday to enquire into the sudden increase of suspected encephalitis.
"The chief minister has also asked concerned officials to bring encephalitis affected children from Muzaffarpur to Patna for proper treatment and provide them all possible help," an official from the chief minister’s office said.
More than 24 children with suspected encephalitis have been admitted to the government run SKMCH and privately run Kejriwal hospital in Muzaffarpur. The summer heat has made it worse for children undergoing treatment as the air-conditioned ICU wards were not fully functional.
According to doctors, the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a severe case of encephalitis characterised by inflammation of the brain. Mosquitoes transmit the infection, which causes high fever among children.
"Every year encephalitis hits Muzaffarpur, Gaya and other neighbouring districts in May or June. But this year it seems to have hit a little late," a health department official said.
Early this year the state government launched a special vaccination drive to protect hundreds of thousands of children against encephalitis.
Last year, 62 children died of encephalitis in Muzaffarpur and 150 died in 2012 in the district.
Most of the victims were from poor families in rural pockets.
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