|Family members tend to children admitted to Kejriwal Maternity Clinic. Picture by Lokesh Bihari
The deaths of three children suspected to be suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome this summer has set off the alarm in the health department, which had grappled to contain the ailment last year.
The children Dipak Kumar (3), whose parents reside at Fardogola Road in Muzaffarpur, Mohammad Saiful (2) of Patyasa village and Mohammad Iqbal (2) of Manyari village were admitted to the Kejriwal Maternity Clinic, Muzaffarpur, the primary health centre (PHC) in Bochahan block and the paediatric ward of Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), also in the district headquarters, respectively.
Chief medical officer-cum-civil surgeon Gyan Bhushan said two of the children died during treatment. Saiful was referred to the Sadar Hospital but was declared brought dead at SKMCH.
Till now, 18 children suffering from the ailment have been admitted to PHCs and additional PHCs in rural areas. The doctors there have been instructed to refer suspected cases of acute encephalitis syndrome to SKMCH, Kejriwal Maternity Clinic and the Sadar Hospital in Muzaffarpur.
Deputy superintendent, SKMCH, Sunil Shahi told The Telegraph: Doctors have been put on alert in the wake of the high temperatures prevailing here. Twenty beds have been kept in the paediatric intensive care unit of SKMCH, which is fully equipped with gadgets and infrastructure.
Shahi added: Acute encephalitis syndrome claimed the lives of 68 children last year. This year it is under control despite the high temperature and cases of heat strokes, he said.
Residents have been advised to look after the health and hygiene of children. Doctors of the National Disease Control Board, New Delhi, requested Bhushan to instruct people not to let their children sleep on an empty stomach.
Anganwadi sevikas and swastha mitras conducted a door-to-door campaign in the rural pockets to spread awareness about the virus. The sprinkling of DDT in 330 affected villages of the district twice in a year has clipped the wings of viruses.
Bhushan said a team of the National Disease Control Board would arrive in a day or two for in-depth investigation of the outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome in summer.