With acute encephalitis syndrome having claimed 33 lives in Muzaffarpur, Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi Sunday visited two hospitals treating children aged between two and 12. A team from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, has already been to Muzaffarpur and taken samples.
A health ministry team too is likely to visit Muzaffarpur this week after a delegation Saturday requested Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to take note of the annual outbreak. The ministry has constituted a committee with the health secretaries of Bihar and UP among its members.
Manjhi visited Kejriwal Matri Sadan Hospital and Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, which along with Patna Medical College has admitted 90 patients. He said the government had been taking expert advice on dealing with such cases.
Dr Rajiv Kumar of Kejriwal Hospital told The Indian Express: “Our hospital alone has had 53 admissions, of whom 10 have died and nine referred to PMCH. Children from low-income families with low immunity levels are worst affected.”
He said all that has been established so far is that the Muzaffarpur cases are not of Japanese encephalitis, for which the state government carries out vaccination. “As long as virus causing AES is not identified, doctors can offer only symptomatic treatment,” said the doctor, who has treated over 1,000 AES cases.