PATNA: With the onset of monsoon, only one death was reported from Muzaffarpur-based Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), which has been at the forefront of the battle against AES in Bihar.
The toll now stands at 110 as per the official figures in Muzaffarpur on Sunday.
As per conservative estimates, nearly 167 children, including 110 from Muzaffarpur at SKMCH and 20 at privately-run Kejriwal hospital, lost their lives between January 2 and June 23 in Bihar.
As many as 99% of these children hailed from poor families and were either of scheduled castes or of extremely backward castes.
“Suspected cases of AES generally are reported from across the rural areas when the summer heat, coupled with humidity, reaches its peak. But the number of cases start plummeting as soon as it starts raining in the region with the onset of monsoon,” SKMCH superintendent Dr S K Shahi said.
The health department took action against a doctor who did not report on duty at SKMCH. The senior resident doctor at the Patna Medical College Hospital was placed under suspension pending a departmental inquiry upon conclusion of which action may be taken.
Meanwhile, the health department said 600 children were reported to be affected with symptoms like AES in 20 districts and 140 died contrary to unofficial figures of 167 casualties.
According to a bulletin released by the Muzaffarpur administration on Sunday, 430 children were admitted at SKMCH between January 2 and June 23. As many as 225 of them were discharged, it added.
While 84 children are still admitted, 11 kids were taken away by their parents despite being advised against it. At Kejriwal hospital, 162 children were brought in the same period of which 213 were referred to SKMCH, 73 discharged while 20 succumbed to the infection.
As many as 14,16,790 packets of ORS and 10,92,515 pamphlets were distributed in 1,114 villages in Muzaffarpur district alone in last few weeks.
About 200 health personnel, including doctors on deputation from other medical institutions such as AIIMS, PMCH, NMCH and DMCH, are on duty to look after the sick children.
Dr Shahi said epidemiologists and researchers from Pune, Delhi, and research organisations including those from ICMR are conducting research on the causes of the outbreak of the viral infection.
They are also keeping a close watch on the socio-economic conditions of families which have been bereaved by the AES outbreak this year.