Zee Media Bureau
Patna: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, while taking a stock of the rising number of deaths in Muzzafarpur and surrounding areas due to encephalitis, said that he is coordinating with state authorities and health officials to deal with the disease.
Muzaffarpur has been worst hit by an encephalitis outbreak which has claimed 148 deaths so far.
“I`m distressed to see children suffering with encephalitis,” said Vardhan while speaking to reporters.
He further added, “I`m aware of this disease for the past 40 years, but I got to know about it in detail during election campaign in Uttar Pradesh.
Vardhan was accompanied by Bihar Health Minister and Secretary of Union Health Ministry.
During his two-day visit in the district, Vardhan met several children suffering from encephalitis and announced a series of measures to try and tackle the disease, including a 100-bed paediatric ICU for Sri Krishna Memorial Hospital and two research centres at Muzaffarpur and adjoining Darbhanga.
“It will be a big challenge for both state and Central government to deal with encephalitis,”said Vardhan.
Vardhan also reiterated that the central government would provide all possible help to Bihar in controlling the outbreak.
A virology centre would be set up in Bihar on the lines of the National Institute of Virology in Pune, he said.
The disease, limited to Muzaffarpur till last week, has now spread to Vaishali, Samastipur, Sheohar, East Champaran, Sitamarhi, Begusarai, Bhagalpur and Gaya districts of the state.
The Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a severe case of encephalitis characterised by inflammation of the brain. The infection - transmitted by mosquitoes - causes high fever.
(With IANS inputs)