PATNA/MUZAFFARPUR: Acute Encephalitis Syndrome claimed one more life in Muzaffarpur on Wednesday, raising the toll in the north Bihar district, the worst affected by the outbreak, to 132, while the total number of casualties across the state was 154, officials said.
The death in Muzaffarpur was reported from privately-owned Kejriwal hospital which had 165 AES patients admitted since June 1.
Out of them 21 have died.
The previous casualty reported at the hospital was on June 20.
According to figures released by the Muzaffarpur district administration, no fresh case of AES or any casualty caused thereof has been reported from government-run SKMCH hospital which, with 436 registered cases and 111 deaths since the beginning of this month, has been dealing with the worst of the outbreak.
According to data provided by the state Health department in Patna, 23 out of 40 districts have so far been affected by the outbreak and the total number of AES cases registered since June 1 was 729.
The total number of deaths was 154 and the casualties reported at Muzaffarpur included children brought in for treatment from adjoining districts such as Vaishali and East Champaran.
The health department has attributed the cause of at least 120 deaths to hypoglycemia -- one of the many pathological conditions that fall under the umbrella term AES -- characterized by sudden drop in blood sugar levels.
Experts say malnourished children, under the age of 15, are vulnerable to the condition which is triggered by, among other things, a toxin found in unripe litchis - the luscious fruit grown in abundance in north Bihar.
Some deaths have also been attributed to sodium and potassium imbalances, caused by dehydration which is common in hot and humid weather.
However, Health authorities have been pointing towards a drop in the incidence of fresh AES cases and casualties and predicted further improvement as the outbreak, which typically strikes the region every year during peak summer, is known to subside with the onset of rains.