AES outbreak in Bihar: Health ministry rushes 5 teams to Muzaffarpur

Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has deployed central teams of pediatricians and paramedics to further strengthen the management of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur

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New Delhi: The mysterious deaths of more than 100 children in Bihar has led to a huge outrage across India. The experts are pinning the cause of deaths on Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Bihar’s most affected district, Muzaffarpur. However, there is no consensus yet on the mode of transmission of the virus. While the state government says it is doing its best to control the situation, the people in affected areas are far from being satisfied. The shortage of doctors and enough medical equipment has made the situation even more difficult.

Meanwhile, the central government has deployed the expert teams to the affected state. As per the statement by the union health ministry, subsequent to the high-level review of AES/JE in Muzaffarpur (Bihar), Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has been regularly reviewing the support being provided to the State for its management. In this direction, the Minister chaired a review meeting to take stock of the ongoing public health measures for the management of the cases on 19th June as well.

As per the statement, Dr Vardhan directed the top officials to send five teams of senior pediatricians and paramedics to Muzaffarpur immediately for further strengthening the state efforts and measures in the affected districts. Ten pediatricians (including five senior consultants) and five para-medics from RML Hospital, Safdarjung and Lady Hardinge Medical College will be part of the five teams.

“The teams will strengthen the clinical care to the existing patients in the hospitals and also strengthen surveillance of cases from the peripheral areas,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan adding, “A high-level central team led by Mr Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, MoHFW has been permanently stationed in the area to monitor the operations since the past three days. Teams have also been constituted for socio-economic survey in these areas to identify and pinpoint causes linked with the economic status.”

Furthermore, ten additional ambulances have been put into action in the most affected blocks of the districts for round the clock services. Also, 16 nodal officers (teams of senior doctors and an administrative officer) have been deployed at the PHCs in the affected blocks. To further strengthen the health infrastructure and facilitate the transportation of patients to the health facilities, the State Government has also made a provision to reimburse the ambulance charges if the patients are shifted privately by the family to the hospitals.