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Mystery fever toll rises to 17

Eleven kids have died of suspected acute encephalitis syndrome in Muzaffarpur since Thursday, taking the toll to 17.

Chief medical officer, Muzaffarpur, Gyan Bhushan said: “Till Friday afternoon, the toll of children from suspected acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) symptoms had touched 17. Eleven of them died in the past 30 hours.”

Eight children died at Kejriwal Maternity Clinic, while five died at Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) between Thursday and Friday evening.

At present, 53 children have been admitted with high fever to SKMCH and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic. Forty-one kids being treated at Kejriwal Maternity Clinic.

Health department secretary Sanjay Kumar Singh and a medical team visited the health hubs on Friday.

Deputy superintendent of SKMCH Sunil Kumar Shahi said: “Twelve children have been admitted to SKMCH in the past 24 hours with suspected AES symptoms. A good number of doctors have been deputed to the intensive care unit of the paediatric ward.”

“The doctors are strictly following the treatment protocols,” said Dr Braj Mohan Singh, head of department, paediatrics, SKMCH.

Ever since the mystery disease was reported here around April-end, seven children have gone home.

An expert team — comprising those from the Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, US, led by Dr James Xavier and from National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi, led by Dr Padmini Padmanabhun — is monitoring the treatment of 53 children.

District magistrate Anupam Kumar said he has directed chief medical officer-cum-civil surgeon Gyan Bhushan to refer suspected AES cases only to SKMCH. Anupam, who inspected SKMCH and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic on Friday, said: “The health hub is equipped to tackle the situation.”

He added that the threat to children contracting the mystery disease was greater because of rising temperatures. On Friday, the maximum temperature had touched 45°C.

Former state social welfare minister Parveen Amanullah, now an Aam Aadmi Party leader, expressed concern. On her visit to SKMCH and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic on Friday, she said: “Immediate steps should be taken to save the children. The susceptibility of the children to the disease should be brought down by ensuring proper diet. Anganwadi centres run under the Integrated Child Development Scheme should be strengthened.”

In Patna, the Congress expressed concern. Spokesperson Suman Kumar Mullick accused the government of not taking the problem seriously.


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