An as yet unidentified “mysterious” disease with symptoms similar to encephalitis has claimed the lives of 73 children in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Patna districts during the past fortnight, officials said Friday.
State health department officials held an emergency meeting here Friday to take stock of the situation, even as they were yet to determine the cause of the deaths.
Till date, 30 children have died in Muzaffarpur and nine in Gaya. Besides, 34 children have succumbed to the disease in the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) in the last 15 days.
Dr. Sujata Choudhary, head of the department of paediatric in the PMCH, said 80 children suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome were admitted to the hospital, of which 34 died. She said over four dozen children suffering from “a mysterious disease” had been admitted to hospitals in the other two districts. Some doctors and health officials have reportedly said the children were showing symptoms similar to encephalitis.
Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey and Principal Secretary (Health) Amarjit Sinha, however, denied reports that the children were dying of suspected encephalitis. ”The causes are yet to be ascertained,” Choubey said.
Last year, encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease, claimed nearly 150 lives in Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts.