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CIMA Gallary

Deaths spur virus panic

Samastipur/Muzaffarpur, June 17: The disease that has killed more than 140 children in Muzaffarpur and Gaya over the past one month has started to spread to Samastipur.

Residents of Narhan village in Bibhutipur block and Kubauliram village in Pusa block of Samastipur are sca-red of the “mysterious fever” that has claimed lives of 11 children in the past four days. More than 12 children are admitted to hospital with signs of acute encephalitis syndrome.

A two-member team of doctors from Samastipur sadar hospital — R.P. Shawetanki and Vijay Kumar Verma — visited Narhan yesterday where five children died of brain fever. Dr Bibhash Ranjan, another doctor from the hospital, visited Kubauliram, which, too, has reported death of five children.

“Komal Kumar (8) died of acute encephalitis syndrome today. He was a resident of Bathua village of Mushrigharari block. With this, the toll has risen to 11,” Samastipur sadar hospital deputy superintendent Ashok Vardhan Sahay said.

“Our medical teams have visited the areas from where reports of the disease are pouring in. It is difficult to ascertain the number of patients suffering from suspected encephalitis because most of them have been admitted to private nursing homes. We have, however, treated some of the patients with symptoms of brain fever. In general, the disease is mostly reported in the early week of July. But this year, patients have been coming in June,” he added.

The situation at the Samastipur hospital is as grim as Anugrah Narayan Medical College & Hospital, which is ill equipped to treat such patients. The health hub in Gaya has no ventilators to deal with the situation.

“It is unfortunate that we do not have well-trained doctors to treat such patients. We do not even have ventilators that can provide support when patients complain of respiratory problem. Most of the patients died because there were no ventilators,” Sahay said.

A team from the New Delhi-based Centre for Disease Control, which examined 300 ailing children suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome in Muzaffarpur, fears that most children died in the district because of consumption of unhygienic water. The team members are, however, yet to confirm their findings.