PATNA: Bihar's health department on Monday confirmed the death of 11 children in the state this month and 10 of them were victims of hypoglycemia, and not Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) as reported in the media.
Recent media reports said 22 to 24 children died in Bihar this month due to AES disease in the state.
"But our tests confirmed that 10 out of the 11 deaths have taken place due to hypoglycemia," health department Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar said, without identifying the reason for the death of the remaining one child.
Hypoglycemia is a condition caused by very low level of blood sugar, he told reporters here during Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Lok Samvad programme.
"A total of 48 cases of children suffering from AES have been reported so far in the state," Sanjay Kumar said. People casually attribute any death to AES," he said.
Symptoms of AES are acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status - mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma - and/or new-onset of seizures.
The disease most commonly affects children and young adults, according to the national health portal.
At the Lok Samvad programme, the chief minister asked the principal secretary to explain before mediapersons about the actual situation and steps being taken by the state government on children's deaths.
Expressing concern over the increase in the number of deaths in comparison to last year due to AES, Nitish Kumar said it seems that there is lack of information and awareness among the people as how to tackle the disease.
He emphasised on the need for creating awareness among people that they should not let their children sleep in empty stomach, or to have litchi on empty stomach which could be one of the reasons behind the disease.
The principal secretary said, "We have reviewed the situation in all the affected 222 blocks in 12 districts.
Arrangements have been made as per the health department's standard operating procedure.
" For the first time, paediatric ICUs in seven government hospitals in as many districts were made functional in the state to tackle the disease, he said.
Health department officials have visited Muzaffarpur and reviewed the situation and director in chief, health services, will be visiting Muzaffarpur on Tuesday, he said.