Two more children died of suspected acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Araria district on Monday.
Sources said both the victims were from Belwa panchayat near Araria town. Araria civil surgeon Bimal Kant Thakur said four more children, who are said to be suffering from suspected acute encephalitis syndrome, which causes irritation and swelling of the brain, are admitted to Purnea sadar hospital.
According to Thakur, preventive measures, including DDT spray and fogging, have been taken on war footing since last week following the death of five children.
“It’s yet to be confirmed that the children died of acute encephalitis syndrome but the symptoms suggest so. One of the indicators is that all the seven children died in less than 24 hours of being affected while among them there were a few who died within eight hours. This happens only when one is suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome. But our expert team has not confirmed about acute encephalitis syndrome being the reason of the death of the seven children,” said Thakur.
Asked the need behind keeping the four children in Purnea, Thakur said the decision was taken according to the wish of their parents.
“We were forced to keep the children at Purnea because their family was willing to keep to take them there. All the four children belong to the same family,” he added.
Thakur, however, said the condition of the four children has improved in the past few hours.
“Our expert team also visited Purnea sadar hospital and they found the four children better,” said Thakur.
“A team of health experts from Patna visited the affected village in Araria three days ago following the directive of chief minister Nitish Kumar to control the spread of the disease. Encephalitis is an acute inflammation of the brain resulting either from a viral infection or when the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the brain tissue. Till now, over 36 children have died of the disease in the state this year. Last year, the disease killed nearly 240 children in Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts,” said a health department source.
Health department spokesperson R.P. Ojha said a team, including director-in-chief Surendra Prasad and a World Health Organisation representative, is investigating the reason behind the death of the children in Araria district.