Bihar govt confirms 100 deaths, suspects encephalitis
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The Bihar government confirmed on Tuesday that 100 children aged below 13 have died because of suspected encephalitis this season, mostly in Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Motihari, Sitamarhi and also in peripheral Patna.
Health Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey said: "We confirm 100 deaths in last two months but are yet to know if these deaths were because of encephalitis. There could be other reasons such as sunstroke and dehydration."
The minister said the state government had sought assistance from the central government. He said a team from National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune had been now insisting on taking brain tissue samples from dead patients. The minister said parents usually resisted such tests and declaring the disease epidemic can alone empower the government to take such samples.
The government, however, is not yet decided on declaring an epidemic as particular areas reporting such cases have to be segregated. Experts have so far ruled it as a case of Japanese Encephalitis, the most common type of brain disease, often marked by high fever and convulsions.
Muzaffarpur's Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital reported 16 deaths this season while Kejriwal hospital reported 32 deaths from 93 admissions. The two hospitals have reported 22 and 34 fresh cases in the last two days. The Patna Medical College and Hospital here reported 42 deaths in 101 admissions. The premier hospital has been treating 30 patients with suspected encephalitis.
Anugraha Narain Magadh Medical College of Gaya has so far reported 10 deaths in 20 admissions. Last year, 94 children of 409 admissions had died at this hospital. Muzaffarpur's two hospital had reported 104 deaths last year.
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