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Deaths speed up virus fight

The death of 48 children owing to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur and adjoining areas seems to have woken the State Health Society, Bihar, out of slumber.

The health society on Sunday decided to press 50 ambulances in service to ferry children from villages and countryside areas to Muzaffarpur.

District magistrate (DM) Anupam Kumar said 50 ambulances from the State Health Society, Bihar, would reach Muzaffarpur on Tuesday night. The vehicles would be provided to primary health centres to transport children from the hinterland to Muzaffarpur.

A few ambulances would be at the disposal of civil surgeon-cum-chief medical officer Gyan Bhushan to meet any emergency requirement. Nearly 30 paediatricians belonging to different hospitals in Madhubani, Samastipur, Begusarai and Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital are likely to join on Tuesday evening.

The DM said eight lakh pamphlets of health bulletins regarding awareness about the virus have been distributed. Members of anganwadi centres and accredited social health activists (Asha) workers have been entrusted with the task. Three lakh sachets of oral rehydration salts are being distributed. There is a requirement of an additional five lakh pouches and it would be made available in a day or two by the health society.

As many as 23 AES patients have been admitted to SKMCH and Kejriwal Maternity Clinic on Tuesday. SKMCH deputy superintendent Sunil Kumar Shahi said the number of kids admitted at the hospital has gone up to 52, while at Kejriwal Maternity Clinic, it is 81.