Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey on Saturday said the state government is doing its best to save children, as the death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in Muzaffarpur mounted to 73.
Pandey said doctors and nurses are being called in from Patna for additional help. "We are trying everything and anything that can save children's lives. Everything is being made available from medicines to doctors. We have even called doctors and nurses from AIIMS in Patna," he said. "There is a protocol regarding what kind of medicines and facilities should be given and we are doing the same. We are monitoring things regularly and trying to save our children."
Recalling the situation that prevailed five years ago, Pandey said a team that was formed to ascertain the cause of this disease concluded that sleeping empty stomach at night, dehydration due to humidity and eating lychee on empty stomach were some of the causes of Encephalitis.
"Our government has tried to spread awareness which will be beneficial as well. Advertisement in newspapers, radio jingles, pamphlets and mic announcements are going to spread awareness regarding the disease. Health ministry is also working on it," he said.
On being asked about spread of ASE in Gorakhpur last year, he said, "From Gorakhpur to Muzaffarpur region, this disease had spread last year and the Union government had worked on this and we will continue to fight it now."
"This incident in Muzaffarpur is very saddening and we also feel bad when children of our nation die like this. Not the whole district is affected but a large part is suffering from it," he added.
From January 1, 2019, to till now, 220 children were admitted in Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur due to AES, out of which 62 lost their lives.
As per the data of SKMCH hospital, 235 children were admitted out of which 89 died; in 2013 - 90 children were admitted out of which 35 died; in 2014 - 334 children were admitted out of which 117 died; in 2015 - 37 children were admitted out of which 15 died; in 2016 - 31 children were admitted out of which 6 died; in 2017 - 44 children were admitted out of which 18 died; and in 2018 - 43 children were admitted out of which 12 died.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Union ministry for home affairs, Nityanand Rai, visited Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital to review the situation after the outbreak of AES.
Encephalitis is a viral disease, which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headaches and has been claiming lives in the district for the past few weeks.