An awareness campaign for AES was launched in the district
A child has been diagnosed with Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), the year's first, at a hospital in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on February 19, 2021, said a staff member of the paediatric ward who did not want to be named. Usually AES, locally called chamki bukhar, surfaces during summer in the flood-prone districts of north Bihar.
Akash Kumar, a two-and-half-year-old boy, was admitted in Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur with AES symptoms on February 16, 2021. He is undergoing treatment at the hospital's special AES ward.
SKMCH superintendent BS Jha, however, did not confirm the case. “For us it is a suspected AES case and it will be officially confirmed soon,” he told Down to Earth.
The child is doing well and showing signs of improvement, Jha added. He is being treated by a team of AES experts.
Akash is a resident of a village in Paru block in Muzaffarpur and belongs to a poor family, said a senior official of the district health department.
The child was brought to SKMCH by his parents with high fever and other symptoms of AES. Muzaffarpur district malaria officer Dr Satish Kumar also said that the child has all the symptoms of AES.
A massive awareness campaign for AES has been launched in Muzaffarpur. “District health officials have been directed to reach out to people in all villages with appeal what to do or not to deal with AES and how to prevent likely outbreak of AES during summer,” Jha said.
Jha said that the hospital is fully equipped to handle AES cases and has purchased all required medicines and that pediatric intensive care units (PICU) were well-equipped to treat AES patients.
Last year, more than 75 children were admitted to SKMCH with AES. Around six children died of the disease in 2020 amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
AES cases were reported from five north Bihar districts in 2019. More than 150 children died. More than 600 children suffering from AES were admitted in the hospitals, including SKMCH and nearly 450 recovered.
More than 500 children have died in the last decade due to AES, mainly in Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts of Vaishali, Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Sheohar, East and West Champaran.
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