Twenty children have died of a mysterious disease in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district during the past six days, a district health official said on Sunday. Of these, seven children succumbed in the last 24 hours.
The children reported high fever, followed by bouts of unconsciousness and convulsions, leading to their death. Local people termed the mysterious disease as ‘chamki ki bimari’ and claimed that the symptoms are similar to encephalitis, a disease that causes inflammation of the brain.
Health officials, however, are still unable to identify the disease.
“In the last twenty four hours, seven more children died due to a mysterious disease at two hospitals in Muzaffarpur. Till now twenty children have died of the disease and over 50 children have been admitted to different hospitals in the last six days,” a district health official said.
Bihar health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Sunday said that the government was serious to take care of the children suffering from the unknown disease.
The district administration has sounded a high alert to check the spread of the disease.
Muzaffarpur Malaria Officer Dr Bhagirathi Prasad told IANS on phone, “It is unfortunate that the cause of the deaths could not be ascertained till date.”
Dr Bhagirathi Prasad said a three-member team of experts from Patna visited hospitals in Muzaffarpur on Saturday to collect blood samples for test but it was a blunder. “The team visited Muzaffarpur without courier agent to keep collected blood samples. It is nothing but a blunder,” he said.
Dr A P Singh, the district civil surgeon, earlier said, “We cannot say what disease led to the death of the children here. The disease is yet to be identified. Whether it is encephalitis or some unknown disease, we can say only after medical reports come.”
Official sources in the state health department in Patna said there was no facility to identify encephalitis in Bihar.
The principal secretary of the state health department Amarjeet Sinha on Friday visited Muzaffarpur to take stock of the situation. [Source: IANS]