The high number of deaths this year has been blamed on hypoglycemia, which some expert attribute to malnutrition and consumption unripe litchi. The Muzaffarpur administration said that 13.5lakh packets of oral rehydration solution (ORS) AND 8.5 lakh pamphlets have been distributed for intensive awareness program.
The death toll rises above 169 children mainly due to hypoglycemia. It has occurred previously in the state and this is the second largest number of causalities recorded after 355 in 2014.
Health experts have long been dumbfounded by the root of the encephalitis outbreak, commonly known as brain fever, in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district. Early symptoms can be similar to those of flu, with patient suffering from high temperature or headaches but symptoms can include serious complications like seizures, paralysis and coma.
Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur, where most of the patients have been undergoing treatment since the disease spread, struggled to handle the spate of new admission with its limited infrastructure.
SKMCH superintendent Sunil Kumar Shahi admitted that there was shortage of senior resident doctors in every department. “Though there is shortage, it is in human to turn away patients just because we cannot accommodate them. Many of them have come for far flung villages of north Bihar. Around 40 to 50 new cases of AES have been coming every day, but our resources are very limited, Sources said that 70 percent of children who died were girls.”
To ease the crisis, a makeshift pediatric ICU with 20 beds and 4 new ACs was set up. But frequent power cuts hampered the efforts. The hospital authorities said 154 children were undergoing treatment for AES at three pediatrics ICUs with 10 beds.
‘’We are examining the matter and we will submit our report to the principle secretary of Bihar government’s health department, “said Dr Arun who led a central team that visited SKMCH to take stock of situation.
He added that hypoglycemia is one of the features of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. “We are yet to come to a conclusion and will submit our report to government, “he said.
According to a release issued by the Muzaffarpur district administration, two children died at SKMCH Hospital here where total of Acute Encephalitis syndrome (AES) have been reported since june1.
Meanwhile, the state’s director – in –chief (disease control) RD Ranjan visited the town, heading a team of Health Department officials sent from the Bihar capital, to take stock of the situation.
“Stern action will be taken against officials who are found to be lax in ensuring distribution of oral rehydration solution and spreading of awareness regarding preventive steps, “he said.
A five-member team of the central government visited Muzaffarpur to investigate the cause of the deaths of children. ‘Harsh Vardhan along with union minister of state for Health Aswan Kumar Choubey will visit Muzaffarpur to take stock of the situation, “a state health department official said.
The Health Department has also issued advisory urging the parents to prevent their children from playing under the sun when temperature is hovering between 42 and 43 degree Celsius. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a severe case of encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes. It is characterized by high fever and inflammation of the Brain.
Recent studies have suggested that the natural toxins in lychees could harm undernourished children by blocking their ability to produce enough blood sugar which can lead to death. Lychees continued hypoglycemia A, an amino acid that can disrupt metabolism, lowering blood sugar level. That can trigger hypoglycemia and in extreme case, death.
However, A statement from Vishal Nath,the Director of Muzaffarpur- based National Research Centre on Litchi has denied the link between Litchi and the outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome(AES) that has claimed over 160 lives in Bihar. He ensured the research has found nothing wrong in the fruit. He also said it could have affected the other states also if litchi could have been the reason.
BY: SASMITA SAHOO