100 children dead in Bihar due to acute encephalitis syndrome

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New Delhi / Muzaffarpur (Bihar), June 17, 2019 : Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, upon his return from Muzaffarpur, has reviewed the situation arising from the reported cases of AES/JE in Bihar in a high level meeting today which was attended by senior officers of the Health Ministry, ICMR, and AIIMS. Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MOS(HFW) was alsopresent at the meeting.

The Union Health Minister has directed for anotherhigh level multi-disciplinary team to be sent to Bihar immediately. The team will undertake the necessary ground work for setting up state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary research centre at Muzaffarpur. Dr. Harsh Vardhan during his review visit yesterday has assured the State about establishing such a Centre at Muzaffarpur.

“To establish the cause of the disease, there is urgent need for an inter disciplinary, high quality research team.  The research team shall work with the children suffering from AES/JE looking at various aspects including periodicity, cycle of disease, environmental factors and metrological data, besides other factors”, Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated.

The inter disciplinary team consists of experts from ICMR, Delhi; NIMHANS, Bangalore; National Institute of Malaria Research; National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad; National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune; National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) Chennai and AIIMS, Delhi.

The members of the high level central team are:

  • Dr Jhuma Sankar, Associate Prof , Dept of Pediatrics , AIIMS DELHI
  • Dr V Ravi , Senior Prof Neuro Virology , NIMHANS
  • Dr Abhinav Sinha , Scientist E in National Institute of Malaria Research
  • Dr Biswaroop, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurology, AIIMS
  • Dr Manoj Murhekar, Director, National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai
  • Dr Tandale, Scientist F, NIV, Pune
  • Dr Arlappa , Scientist F, National Institute of Nutrition , Hyderabad

Dr. Harsh Vardhan also said thatfive virological labs will be set up in different districts in the State.  The location of the district can be decided in consultation with the State Government and can be funded through NHM, he stated.

In one of the decisions taken during his visit, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has instructed to set up a 100-bedded paediatric ICU at SKMCH by the State Government.Also, in the adjoining districts, 10 bedded paediatric ICUs will be set up with support from the Centre, so that such cases can be given better and exclusive treatment and there is no unnecessary load on the facilities available at SKMCH.

Emphasising the need for early detection and treatment of hypoglycemia cases,Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that a dedicated team of doctors should be placed in endemic PHCs with required facilities at least for 3 to 4 months before and during onset of disease and they may be incentivised under NHM appropriately. As for present, the concerned PHCs and CHCs should take prompt corrective measures for hypoglycaemia at the facility itself to utilize the golden hour, he added.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan also said that Ministry of Earth Science will be requested to upgrade its IMD observatory facility for improved monitoring of climate related parameters such as temperature humidity, rainfall, heat waves, etc., and share it with the State Government and NCDC for better preparedness and management of AES.