Four more children succumbed to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) Friday in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district, taking the death toll to 147 in the state in the last one month. The government has identified 10 districts where the disease has spread, officials said.
In Muzaffarpur district alone, AES, a mosquito-borne disease, has claimed the lives of 90 children so far - the highest in the state. Most children died at the Sri Krishna Memorial College and Hospital and the Kejriwal Charitable Hospital in the district.
During his June 12 visit to Muzaffarpur, around 75 km from here, state Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey had directed health officials to spray DDT (an organochlorine insecticide) in identified villages. However, it is yet to be done, a district official told IANS over phone.
A team from New Delhi is also in the district to contain the viral disease.
The worst affected districts identified by the government include Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, East Champaran and Vaishali, while the less affected districts are: Saran, Bhojpur, Nalanda and Nawada, health officials said.
Additional Secretary (Health) R.P. Ojha said that 46 children have so far died at the Patna Medical College and Hospital here and 11 at Gaya's Anugrah Narain Medical College and Hospital.
However, reports reaching here said that recently AES has also claimed two lives in Sitamarhi, four in Hajipur, district headquarters of Vaishali, and one in East Champaran district. But the health officials here have not confirmed it.
The health department has constituted teams of doctors in six most affected districts to identify patients for treatment, said principal Health Secretary Vayasji.
"All medical college and hospitals have been directed to provide free medicines to patients showing symptoms of AES," he said.
Control rooms have been set up at civil surgeon level in hospitals and medical colleges, Vayasji added.
Bihar is yet to declare AES an epidemic, which is mostly killing children belonging to poor families in the state.
Encephalitis had claimed nearly 150 lives in Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts last year.