Patna: Parents of the 30 children who have fallen ill due to suspected encephalitis in Bihar`s Muzaffarpur in the last five days and are fighting for their lives, are praying for a divine intervention.
"We have lost all hope as children are dying. Medical experts and government officials are only giving us assurances... Now our hope lies with God and divine intervention. We are conducting special prayers and havans," said Gayatri Devi, a resident of Muzaffarpur, about 70 km from here.
Balakeshwar Mishra, a priest, said dozens of distraught parents approached him for special prayers.
"Hopeless parents are ready to do anything to save their children who are fighting for survival in hospitals," Mishra said.
Labourer Mahesh Choudhary`s son is battling for life with suspected encephalitis. He said he relied on religious rituals and prayers conducted by Ojha (faith healers) than what doctors said.
Most of the victims are children in the two to seven years age group and show symptoms like high fever and convulsions.
Alarmed over the rising deaths from suspected encephalitis, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi visited the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital and privately-run Kejriwal Hospital in Muzaffarpur Sunday to take stock of the situation.
Though Manjhi instructed the doctors and district officials to provide all possible help to the children undergoing treatment, he said the disease is yet to be identified.
"I will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invite experts and researchers from abroad to come to Muzaffarpur to identify this disease," he said.
District civil surgeon Gayan Bhusan, however, said the doctors treating the children described the disease as Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.
More than 30 children with suspected encephalitis have been admitted to various hospitals, a health official said.
Deepak Kumar, principal secretary at the health department, said an American team of experts, led by Jacob John, besides New Delhi-based National Centre for Disease Control, is investigating the exact reason behind the deaths of children.
According to doctors, the Acute encephalitis Syndrome is a severe case of encephalitis characterised by inflammation of the brain. Mosquitoes transmit the infection, resulting in high fever among the children.