NEW DELHI: As many as 153 children have died due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) while 720 such cases were reported in Bihar till June 28 this year, Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Kumar Choubey has said.
He was asked about the steps taken by the government to investigate the cause of deaths and the remedial measures adopted.
According to figures available till June 28 this year, the number of AES cases - 720 and number of deaths - 153, the Minister informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
The minister elaborated on a number of measures that the Union Health ministry initiated to support the state in containing AES cases while adding that "as per Constitutional provisions, health is a state subject".
Choubey, in his reply, said that Union Health Minister had reviewed the situation with his counterpart in Bihar and also with officials from the ministry.
A central team of experts consisting of public health specialist from various central government institutes was deputed to assist the state government in taking containment and management measures, he said.
He further said the minister had also visited Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, (SKMCH) at Muzaffarpur in Bihar.
The Ministry further deployed another high-level multi-disciplinary team to Muzaffarpur after drawing senior paediatricians from various central government institutes to advise the state government in its efforts to manage the cases.
Epidemiologists from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), senior pediatricians, laboratory technicians from central level are present in Muzaffarpur since June 12.
Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) facility of NCDC was activated to monitor the AES situation in Muzaffarpur and co-ordinate tasks at the field level, he stated.
Choubey said that the ministry had deputed five teams of doctors along with technicians from Central government hospitals to SKMCH to support clinical management.
"Central team consisting of experts from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was also deployed at SKMCH. The team is also scrutinising and reviewing the case records of discharge and deceased patients using a standardised tool to know the reasons for mortality," the reply said.
Orientation training of all paediatricians of SKMCH on clinical case management and treatment protocol of AES was conducted on a regular basis by the central team.