Patna: Brain fever (encephalitis) has claimed the lives of 64 children in North Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district in last 12 days. Four of them died in the government-run Sri Krishna Memorial hospital at Muzaffarpur.
The union health minister, Dr Harshvardhan, summoned the state health minister, Mangal Pandey in New Delhi on Thursday afternoon. Union minister of state for health, Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, who represents Buxar constituency in Lok Sabha was also present.
The report of the five-member team of doctors sent by the Centre to Muzaffarpur was also discussed at the meeting.
Brain fever popularly known as Chimki Bukhar in the local dialect has spread to 12 districts of North Bihar, according to the Bihar’s health secretary, Sanjay Kumar.
The affected districts include-Vaishali, Sheohar and Samastipur. They are litchi-growing areas of Bihar. Litchi consumpotion by hungry children is being blamed as one of the reasons for encephalitis deaths.
Most of the children are admitted to intensive care units of the SK Medical College & Hospital and Kezeriwal Hospital, where condition of the children was described as critical.
The five-member multi-specialists team of doctors sent by the union health ministry visited Muzaffarpur for two days and met the doctors and patients. The team leader described the condition as grim.
He said low sugar among the children was one of the reasons for the deaths. He suggested that the children should be fed compulsorily during the night and should not be exposed to sun. Due to high humidity, the children were worst affected and their resistance power was poor.
The Central team members said the disease affected the children below five years of age and its effects are visible when the children develops high fevers, has disorientation and confusion status. Children also behave in a stage of delirium.