The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Centre, and the governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to submit affidavits on the steps taken, and facilities provided, to combat the outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, Bar and Bench reported. The governments have been given seven days to file replies, according to PTI.
This came a day after the toll in Bihar’s Acute Encephalitis Syndrome outbreak rose to 152 after two children died in Muzaffarpur district. According to state health department officials, the deaths have occurred in 20 of the state’s 38 districts.
“AES has spread to 20 districts of Bihar but the total number of cases has come down,” Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar told the Hindustan Times. “The death toll due to the disease has reached 152.”
Both the deaths on Sunday occurred in at the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, where 431 children have been admitted for treatment since June 1, including two on Sunday, the district administration said. At the moment, 110 patients are being treated for Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. The Kejriwal hospital in Muzaffarpur town has so far seen 162 encephalitis cases, and 20 patients have died there.
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan had visited the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital last week.
On Saturday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had claimed that the state had successfully controlled the spread of the disease, PTI reported. “Many districts in the state were affected by some vector-borne diseases such as encephalitis, dengue, kala-azar, malaria, chickungunya,” he said. “We started programme ‘Dastak’ in association with UNICEF to control encephalitis and other vector-borne diseases and we got effective results in controlling encephalitis and AES, but it is continuous programme and it will be started again from July 1.”
The symptoms of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, which causes fatal inflammation of the brain, include fever, mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma, and onset of seizures. The Japanese encephalitis virus is the most common cause of the disease in the country, causing 5% to 35% of the cases. But the syndrome is also caused by scrub typhus, dengue, mumps, measles, and Nipah and Zika viruses.