The Bihar state government has urged the centre to declare a mysterious disease that has killed 102 children an epidemic, Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey said. Following the deaths of children in Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Patna districts in the past fortnight, Choubey said the state government wanted the central government’s intervention. ”It is now urgent to declare it an epidemic. The state will approach the central government for this,” Choubey told the media here. He earlier chaired a meeting of health officials and doctors called by the Bihar unit of the Indian Medical Association. Eighteen more children died in Muzaffarpur in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 57 in the district. Ten children have died in Gaya.
Besides, 35 children have died in the Patna Medical College and Hospital(PMCH) in the past 15 days. Sanjata Choudhary, head of the department of paediatric in PMCH, said 80 children suffering from the disease were admitted to the hospital. For the first time since the reports of deaths appeared, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday said it was a big challenge that a brain fever like disease had claimed the lives of so many children in the state. Choubey said the government expected the central government to help check and control the mysterious disease. Some doctors and health officials have reportedly said the children were showing symptoms similar to encephalitis. Last year, encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease, claimed nearly 150 lives in Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts.