The death of a two-year-old baby from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in NRS medical college and hospital on Wednesday has set off the panic alarm as the disease, which is wreaking havoc in north Bengal over the past few weeks, now seems to be inching closer to the state capital.
Pratik Roy, a two-year-old from Bansdroni area in south Kolkata, was admitted to M R Bangur hospital, from where he was shifted to NRS medical college and hospital. Pitbaran Chakraborty, Superintendent of the hospital said: “The baby was clinically detected with AES by doctors of M R Bangur hospital. However, we are yet to confirm whether he died of Japanese Encephalitis.” Significantly, the deceased kid’s father Pranab Roy is also admitted to SSKM hospital with high fever and convulsions, said a member of the family.
Meanwhile, the death toll due to Encephalitis climbed to 133 with five more deaths reported from north Bengal on Wednesday, sources in the state health department said. Director, health services, Dr B Sathpathy said the disease has so far claimed 84 lives in North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. The remaining deaths have appeared in other districts of north Bengal.
Health officials also confirmed that four deaths, whose cause was not known earlier, had been caused by AES.
Among the five deaths reported in last 24 hours, two patients were from Jalpaiguri and worked in tea gardens. The rest were from Siliguri.
North Bengal Medical College and Hospital is currently flooded with Encephalitis cases. According to sources in the health department, the healing hub has the capacity to accommodate around 600 beds, while at present at least 1200 patients detected with AES are admitted there. Acute crisis of infrastructure and staff crunch have made the crisis more severe.
Patients’ relatives agitated outside the hospital on Wednesday, claiming that closure of clinics on Eid led to to deterioration in the condition of many.
Sushanta Banerjee, director of medical education said: “I have been informed about this today (Wednesday). I have ordered an inquiry as we cancelled leaves of all the healt officials to fight the crisis. However, patients were admitted on Tuesday in the emergency unit.”
Dr B Sathpathy who visited North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, said, “Five deaths were reported in 24 hours. However, we are yet to ascertain the cause of death of the child in the Kolkata hospital.”
He further said that a central team of entomologists is camping in north Bengal and collecting samples to determine the cause of such an outbreak.