PATNA: The deaths linked to the massive outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) - a viral infection - has risen to 167 in Bihar till Sunday morning, plunging the state in a grim crisis.
The deadly outbreak of the disease has gripped the children of the state since the beginning of this month.
Muzaffarpur remains the worst-hit district of Bihar with the viral disease taking the lives of as many as 129 children. The death toll in the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) reached 109 and that in Kejriwal hospital stands at 20.
It is followed by Vaishali where 19 children have lost the battle with AES.
Another six children have lost their lives in Begusarai district, five in Samastipur, two each in Motihari, Patna and Bettiah and one each in Bhagalpur and Gopalganj.
The Centre, as well as the state government, have taken a grim note of the alarming number of deaths caused this year, the highest since 2014.
Union Health Minister Harshvardhan had visited Muzaffarpur on Sunday, two days before Chief Minister Nitish Kumar toured the district, and held a meeting with officials to review the situation. The state health department has deputed additional medical officers, child specialists and nurses from other districts to Muzaffarpur to help the health officials in the district.
Taking cognizance of the alarming health situation prevailing in the state, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai announced that all 17 BJP MPs in Bihar will build a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in their districts. He took responsibility to get PICU constructed in Samastipur district. On June 19, the MoS issued Rs 25 lakh from Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund for the construction of the PICUs.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the children who died due to AES. He had also given directions to the health department, district administration and doctors to take necessary measures to fight the outbreak.
People of Harivanshpur village of Vaishali district have left their homes due to fear of AES. Most families have shifted their children to other villages after the outbreak of the disease.
AES is a viral disease which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions, and headache.