Three children die of encephalitis in Bihar

Health department launches vaccination drive

By Alok Gupta
Published: Wednesday 08 May 2013

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is back to haunt people of Bihar. Three children have succumbed to the AES within 30 days. Last year, 260 children died because of AES and Japanese Encephalitis (JE).

According to official figures, 16 children with AES have been admitted in hospitals and nursing homes of Muzaffarpur and Gaya. On May 7, six-year-old Himanshu Kumar died of AES, on April 29 Sapna Khatoon, aged 1 succumbed to the disease; one more death was reported from Muzaffarpur. Most the encephalitis cases are being referred to Sri Krishna Memorial College and Hospital and Kejriwal Nursing Home.

JE and AES virus spread with mosquito bites. The virus causes inflammation of brain and attacks the central nervous system. The health department is worried that AES spread can go beyond control after monsoon when mosquitoes breed at a very high rate.

To control deaths of infants, the health department launched a vaccination drive in 33 districts. It has also constituted a panel of doctors in each government hospital to treat AES cases on priority basis.

Senior officials of the department claim that AES kits have been distributed. Vyas Ji, principal secretary health, said that the government has devised a three-pronged strategy to control AES and JE related deaths.

It has pressed into service ASHA workers and local panchayat sevaks to rush infants with high fever to a local hospital. Vaccination drive has been intensified to administer vaccine to 1.81 million children in the state and DDT has been sprinkled in affected areas to prevent mosquito menace.

“AES and JE has become a challenge for Bihar. This year we have made elaborate preparation to control deaths,” Vyas Ji said.

Government, alarmed with the pre-monsoon encephalitis deaths, has directed civil surgeons to provide ambulance service to infants. A batch of ambulance has been deputed in each hospital to transport encephalitis patients in case they are referred to district hospitals.


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