Muzzafarpur: Around 19 children have died due to suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) or Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Bihar's Muzaffarpur, while dozens of others with symptoms of the infection have been admitted to the city's hospitals.
15 children admitted to Shri Krishna Memorial College Hospital (SKMCH) have died in these scorching summer months till now.
The private hospital's officials have confirmed the death of four children due to AES.
Dr Gopal Sahni, head of Critical Care Unit of SKMCH, said, "When heat and humidity rise, the body`s sweat cannot evaporate. The humidity level is over 50 per cent in the last few days. We have about 15 such children admitted in the hospital currently. Eight-nine such cases come regularly," news agency ANI reported.
The seriousness with which the deaths are being looked into reflects from district administration's callous attitude. A report on AES dated June 8 was signed on June 11 by district officials.
Accusing state government of not responding to the situation quickly, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA Rahul Tiwari said, "The government has been careless to tackle the disease. The doctors' team is also not able to find the cause of the disease."
"The condition of this place is of no importance to anyone, Health Minister is roaming abroad," Tiwari added.
Encephalitis is a viral infection, which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as a fever or a headache.
AES outbreaks are a routine in areas in and around Muzaffarpur in the summer months. The epidemic mostly affects children from poor families below 15 years of age.