Finally the mystery disease has a name. The disease that has killed more than 100 children across three districts of Bihar in the past fortnight has been identified as acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), the government has confirmed and sounded a red alert to tackle the crisis. ”The disease has been identified as AES but it is treatable,” Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey told IANS after 109 children died in Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Patna districts. Till Sunday, Choubey and top health officials had been denying that the deaths, which had caused the opposition to raise the issue in a big way, was due to encephalitis.
According to the latest estimates by officials, 57 children have died in Muzaffarpur, 10 in Gaya and 42 in Patna. Choubey said the state government expected the central government to help check and control the disease. Last year, encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease, claimed nearly 150 lives in Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts.