Suspected brain disease kills nine kids in Bihar


Patna: Nine children have died of suspected encephalitis, an acute brain infection, in Bihar’s Gaya district during the last two weeks, a health official said Tuesday.

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The district health official said that in the last 72 hours four children died of suspected encephalitis, an infection that causes inflammation of the brain, at Anugrah Narain Medical College and Hospital in Gaya, about 100 km from here.

“Three children are battling for life,” he said.

Ajay Kishor Ravi, who heads the hospital’s children’s department, said that till date 36 children with suspected encephalitis were admitted for treatment. Nine of them died.

The children reported high fever, followed by bouts of unconsciousness and convulsions.

Local people termed the mysterious disease as ‘chamki ki bimari’ and claimed that the symptoms were similar to encephalitis.

Bihar Health Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey said he was not aware of any death due to encephalitis in Gaya.

“I am not aware…till now I have not been informed about any such thing,” he said.

Two months ago 51 children died in Muzaffarpur district but the state government is yet to confirm these as encephalitis deaths.

Last month, union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad informed the Rajya Sabha that clinical and epidemiological data suggested that it was an outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome, resulting in 150 cases and 55 deaths, mostly among children.

In a written reply, the minister said these cases were reported from early June to mid-July from Muzaffarpur and its bordering areas in Bihar.