THE HUNT FOR A CONGRESS CHIEF

India Today - - CONTENTS -

Muzaf­farpur in Bi­har and Go­rakh­pur in neigh­bour­ing Ut­tar Pradesh have been prone to out­breaks of acute en­cephali­tis for around 40 years. Most of the chil­dren who die af­ter con­tract­ing the dis­ease are under 10 years old. Nearly 100 chil­dren have died in the past few weeks. The so-called Ja­panese en­cephali­tis, part of the acute en­cephali­tis ‘fam­ily’, is spread by mos­qui­toes. But other causes are more mys­te­ri­ous. Cast­ing around for ex­pla­na­tions, doc­tors have sug­gested ex­cess heat and hu­mid­ity as part of the problem; oth­ers iden­tify tox­ins in ly­chees, grown in vast quan­ti­ties in Bi­har, cou­pled with poor nu­tri­tion and hy­giene as the cause. Af­ter the deaths in Bi­har, Ut­tar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath told health of­fi­cials in the state to be on guard.

127

chil­dren re­ported dead of acute en­cephali­tis syn­drome in Bi­har, 108 in Muzaf­farpur, as of June 18. 20 died in just 24 hours be­fore Union health min­is­ter Harsh Vard­han’s visit

3

chil­dren died of AES in the 4 hours that Vard­han was in Muzaf­farpur; 115 chil­dren were be­ing treated in 2 ma­jor hos­pi­tals where the ma­jor­ity of chil­dren died

7 mem­bers in a cen­tral gov­ern­ment team dis­patched to Bi­har to help in­ves­ti­gate and mit­i­gate the cri­sis

`4 LAKH

to be given by the Bi­har gov­ern­ment to the families of each child who dies of AES, said Bi­har CM Ni­tish Ku­mar 10,485 cases of AES re­ported in 17 states to the Na­tional Vec­tor Borne Dis­eases pro­gramme in 2018, 635 chil­dren died. In 2016, it was 11,651 cases and 1,301 deaths in 171 districs in 19 states

6,000

chil­dren have died of AES in In­dia be­tween 2008 and 2014, from over 44,000 cases 92% of chil­dren suf­fer­ing from AES in Muzaf­farpur since 1995 are below 10 years old; 50% of chil­dren suf­fer from hy­po­gly­caemia (low blood sugar)

`4,038 CR

al­lo­cated to fight AES be­tween 2012-13 and 2016-17, im­ple­mented by the Min­istry of Health and Fam­ily Wel­fare along­side 5 other min­istries

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