Encephalitis, heat-wave claim 160 lives in Bihar


As many as 160 lives have been lost in Bihar due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) – 104 and heat-wave – 56 as per the official details available till late Monday night.

As many as 32 deaths due to heat-waves have been reported from Aurangabad, seven from Nawada and 17 from Gaya in the state so far. The total toll due to AES has been pegged at 104 including 18 deaths at Kejriwal Hospital in Muzaffarpur.

Speaking to media persons in Patna, Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar said: “The ambulance facility will be free of cost. If someone comes to the hospital in a private vehicle, the fare will be reimbursed to them.”

“Expenses of all treatment will be borne by the state government. Ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 Lakh each will be given to the families of the deceased,” said Kumar.

Further, all the government and government-aided schools have been asked to remain closed till June 22 in view of the prevailing heat conditions here on Monday.

“The state is suffering from severe and detrimental heat-wave conditions. It is necessary for the students to remain indoors,” said a release of the Bihar Education Project Council.

Skymet weather reports suggested that the mercury rose to as high as 45.8 degrees Celsius in Gaya and Patna, making it the highest all over the country on Saturday and Sunday.

As there is no respite from the AES, a viral disease which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions, and headache, the Central government on Monday deployed another high-level multi-disciplinary team to be sent to Bihar immediately for undertaking the necessary groundwork for setting up a state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary research center at Muzaffarpur.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan at SKMCH, Muzaffarpur on 16th June to review the AES cases, with MOS Ashwini K Choubey.


Dr Vardhan on Monday also reviewed the situation arising from the reported cases of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) at a high-level meeting, which was also attended by senior officers of the Health Ministry, ICMR, and AIIMS. Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey was also present in the meeting.

“To establish the cause of the disease, there is an urgent need for an inter-disciplinary, high-quality research team. The research team shall work with the children suffering from AES looking at various aspects including periodicity, the cycle of disease, environmental factors, and metrological data, besides other factors,” said Dr Vardhan.

The interdisciplinary team consists of experts from ICMR, Delhi, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, National Institute of Malaria Research, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), Chennai and AIIMS, New Delhi.

The members of the high level central team are Dr Jhuma Sankar, Associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS, New Delhi, Dr V Ravi, senior professor neurovirology, NIMHANS, Dr Abhinav Sinha, Scientist E in National Institute of Malaria Research, Dr Biswaroop, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurology, AIIMS, New Delhi, Dr Manoj Murhekar, Director, National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai, Dr Tandale, Scientist F, NIV, Pune, and Dr Arlappa , Scientist F, National Institute of Nutrition , Hyderabad.

Dr Vardhan also said that five virological labs will be set up in different districts in the State. The location of the district can be decided in consultation with the State government and can be funded through the NHM, he stated.

In one of the decisions taken during his visit to Muzaffarpur, Dr Vardhan has instructed to set up a 100-bedded paediatric ICU at SKMCH by the State government. Also, in the adjoining districts, 10 bedded paediatric ICUs will be set up with the support from the Centre so that such cases can be given better and exclusive treatment and there is no unnecessary load on the facilities available at SKMCH.

Emphasising the need for early detection and treatment of hypoglycemia cases, Dr Vardhan said that a dedicated team of doctors should be placed in endemic PHCs with required facilities at least for three to four months before and during the onset of disease and they may be incentivised under the NHM appropriately.

Dr Vardhan also said that Ministry of Earth Science will be requested to upgrade its IMD observatory facility for improved monitoring of climate-related parameters such as temperature humidity, rainfall, heat waves, etc., and share it with the State government and the NCDC for better preparedness and management of AES. (ANI)