Nearly 14 children are reported to have died in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar due to suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE).
According to the reports, five children have died in the past 24 hours due to the infection and over a dozen, kids are being treated at Shri Krishna Memorial College Hospital (SKMCH) and Kejriwal Hospital after showing various symptoms of Encephalitis, including high fever and unconsciousness.
At least 21 children were admitted at Shri Krishna Memorial College Hospital and 14 were admitted at Kejriwal Hospital on Friday. The Superintendent of SKMCH Sunil Shahi said that the hospital has received a total of 38 patients so far and most of them have glucose deficiency in their blood.
District Civil Surgeon SP Singh said that two of the children who died last week has been confirmed of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. The death of the rest is unknown as of now but the authorities are investigating the incident.
Singh said that most of the patients suspected of the infection were brought to the hospital with high fever and Hypoglycemia (a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar (glucose), the body's main energy source).
"All primary health centres in the district have been put on high alert. But the people need to be cautious about their children as well. Give them as much liquid as you can and keep them hydrated," he added, reports PTI.
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is a serious health problem in India. It can be identified by the starting of high fever and clinical neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, disorientation, delirium or coma. The infection commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.
According to the National Health Portal of India, Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) is the major cause of AES in India (ranging from 5%-35%). Herpes simplex virus, Influenza A virus, West Nile virus, Chandipura virus, mumps, measles, dengue, Parvovirus B4, enteroviruses, Epstein-Barr virus and scrub typhus, S.pneumoniae are the other causes of AES in sporadic and outbreak form in India. Nipah virus, Zika virus are also found as causative agents for AES. The etiology in a large number of AES cases still remains unidentified.