Father (C) of four-year-old Khushbu Kumari carries his son, who is suffering from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), at Kejriwal hospital along with relatives before going to another hospital in Muzaffarpur in Bihar.
Father (C) of four-year-old Khushbu Kumari carries his son, who is suffering from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), at Kejriwal hospital along with relatives before going to another hospital in Muzaffarpur in Bihar.
Photo by STR / AFP

Muzaffarpur: With one more death being reported on Tuesday morning, the toll due to Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) epidemic has reached 131 in Muzaffarpur district in Bihar. The death was reported from Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) which handling the largest number of patients in the district. The total 111 deaths have been reported from government-run SKMCH and 20 in Kejriwal hospital.

A senior Resident Doctor deployed at SKMCH, Dr Bhimsen Kumar, was suspended over alleged negligence of duty on Saturday. The Health Department had deployed Kumar, a paediatrician at Patna Medical College and Hospital to SKMCH on June 19 after the AES outbreak.

The Supreme Court on Monday expressed "serious concerns" over the rising deaths of the AES patients, saying "it is a matter of great concern". While hearing a plea filed by two advocates, a Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai said: "This (death of children) cannot go on." The petitioner had sought constitution of a team of medical experts for the treatment of children suffering from encephalitis disease.

Bihar government told the court that it is taking all necessary steps to control the outbreak of the AES in Muzaffarpur and that the situation is "absolutely under control." Chief Judicial Magistrate, Suryakant Tiwari orders investigation against Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey, in a case of negligence registered against them, in connection with deaths of children in Muzaffarpur due to the AES.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the children who died due to the AES. He had also given directions to the health department, district administration and doctors to take necessary measures for the containment of the disease.

The AES is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms such as high fever, vomiting and in extreme cases, brain dysfunction, seizure, and inflammation of heart and kidney.

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