Vardhan reviews situation as Bihar encephalitis toll touches 83

Intense heat wave in southwest district claims 56 lives of the State.

June 16, 2019 11:59 am | Updated December 03, 2021 08:34 am IST - Patna

The toll of children suffering from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur rose to 83 on Sunday even as Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan visited the State-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in the district and announced several measures to tackle the disease.

Meanwhile, a severe heat wave in the southwestern districts of the State has claimed 56 lives.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, his junior in the Cabinet Ashwani Kumar Choubey and State Health Minister Mangal Pandey visited the SKMCH to review the situation. Even as Dr. Vardhan was at the hospital, two children died.

The Minister, who spent over four hours talking to doctors and relatives of the sick children, lauded the efforts taken to ensure efficient treatment.

“We are extremely shocked at the situation here. We’ve taken every effort to save the lives of the diagnosed children. It has now become necessary to set up well-equipped virology labs in five districts to ensure detection and prevention of the disease. One virology laboratory will start functioning in Muzaffarpur within a year,” Dr. Vardhan said, while speaking to reporters. He added that there was “a need for starting research on AES”.

The Minister was met with black flag demonstrations in Patna and Muzaffarpur by supporters of the Jan Adhikar Party.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced an ex-gratia of ₹4 lakh to families of every person who died of encephalitis.

Record temperatures

Most parts of Bihar are reeling under a heat wave with 56 deaths from heat stroke reported as temperatures touched 45.8° Celsius on Saturday. Most of the deaths were reported from Aurangabad, Gaya and Nawada districts of southwest Bihar.

“The toll may go up as more such people are coming to the hospital,” said Aurangabad civil surgeon Surendra Prasad Singh.

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