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Harsh Vardhan promises assistance to Bihar for acute encephalitis syndrome

PTI 22 Jun 2014, 8:09:05 IST
Muzaffarpur: Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be requested to test samples from children affected by Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), which has led to the death of 130 of them in Bihar, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday.

"The disease is still a mystery. We don't know what is causing it. I will request the world-famous Atlanta institute to take samples and test them to find out the reasons. Our own scientists are also working on it," Dr Vardhan told reporters in Muzaffarpur.

"The Union government will provide all help to Bihar to tackle Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. A two-day special immunisation programme will be conducted on June 22 and 23 in the affected districts. If malnutrition is a reason, it will also be removed," Dr Vardhan said.

A majority of children who died of AES were from Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Vaishali and Bhagalpur districts. Cases were also recorded in Samastipur, Begusarai and Khagaria districts.

In the absence of the identification of virus, bacteria or agents causing the deadly disease having a death rate of 26 per cent, doctors at their best could provide only symptomatic treatment to patients.

The symptoms varied from high fever, body ache, stiffness of limbs to meningitis and coma. Usually, the syndrome affected malnourished children with very low sugar levels and plummeting levels of electrolyte in the body.