The death toll of children due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar reached 147 on Thursday, nearly a fortnight after its deadly outbreak in the state. The worst-hit district is Muzaffarpur with the viral disease claiming the lives of 120 children, followed by Vaishali where 12 children have lost the battle with AES. Another six children have lost their lives in Begusarai district, five in Samastipur, and two each in Motihari and Patna.
As the number of deaths has been increasing, the parents of the affected children remain helpless as they are not aware of the symptoms of AES. "Our children are burning with fever since 4-5 days. Doctor asked us to get medicines for them and said they'll admit them if the fever doesn't go down after that. We don't have money. No one has told us anything about or given us ORS," said a parent.
Asking about ORS distribution, Zee News found that a family of five to seven members has been getting only two pouches of ORS. On the other hand, some are saying that they didn't get even a single pouch. This is the situation of the Manika Chand village in Mushahri block where two children already died due to the disease.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday refused to answer questions on deaths due to AES. He evaded the reporters by keeping the windows up and refusing to give any reply despite repeated requests by reporters. Deputy CM Sushil Modi also dodged a question on the issue stating that his press conference was only about banking committees.
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.