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Encephalitis deaths rise across Bihar, M.P under alert

June 25, 2019

The number of dead due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is rising steadily in Bihar. According to last reports, the death toll has risen to 152 and medical officials are saying the disease has now spread to 20 of the state's 38 districts.

The latest death is that of a child in Muzaffarpur, which is the epicentre of the outbreak.

AES has spread to 20 districts of Bihar but the total number of cases has come down. The death toll due to the disease has reached 152. - Sanjay Kumar, Principal Secretary (health), Bihar

The Bihar government has been strongly criticised for its response with many calling out the poor healthcare system in Muzaffarpur. To make matters worse, on Sunday, a part of the roof at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the main hospital here treating patients collapsed.

There's growing anger against politicians among members of the public. A group of Congress leaders were turned away when they visited a hospital. In another incident in Vaishali, an MLA was forced to leave after seven children died in the area. Villagers initially locked him up in a hut and held him hostage until he was freed by security men.

The opposition parties have blamed the Bihar government for failing to improve healthcare in the state. Every year, since 1995., AES has been killing children.

Now, Madhya Pradesh has been put on high alert as well after an eight-year-old child reportedly suffering from AES died. Medical reports confirming this are awaited. M.P Health Minister Tulsi Silawat said the boy's blood samples will be sent to Pune's National Institute of Virology. "A team of health department was also sent to the boy's village to organise a camp and check the possibility of spread of the disease, said Silawat.

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