Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday visited the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur, where maximum casualties have been reported due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES). The death toll rose to 100 in Muzaffarpur and the adjoining districts in Bihar. The Syndrome is locally called the 'Chamki' fever and has affected children in the age group of 1-10.
"I assure the people of the area, especially the affected families, that the government will extend all possible help and measures to the state government," PTI quoted the Union health minister, as saying.
However, the state government officials said that the majority of the victims had died due to hypoglycemia, a condition caused by very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance.
While acknowledging the dearth in paediatric ICU at SKMCH, the minister added that the medical college will have a 100-bed paediatric ICU in a separate building that will be constructed within the same campus in a year. He further stated that a "state-of-the-art" research centre will also be set up at Muzaffarpur.
Meanwhile, "the India Meteorological Department's observatory in Muzaffarpur will be also be upgraded", he said.
In 2014, a similar AES outbreak had claimed 379 lives. Harsh Vardhan, who was the Union health minister in the Centre back then, had visited the hospital and affirmed a number of measures to overcome the crisis but even after five years, the situation on the ground has not changed much.
(Edited by: Nehal Solanki)