The Bihar Post

Nitish faces angry protests as suspected encephalitis kills 108 children in Bihar

The disease has spread in an epidemic form in and around Muzaffarpur district

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PATNA: Angry villagers protested and shouted slogans against Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar after death toll from suspected encephalitis crossed over 100.

Villagers and victim families expressed their anger after the chief minister on Tuesday reached Sri Krishna Memorial College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur district which reported maximum deaths of children. His visit came amid bitter criticisms from the opposition for failing to know about their plight.

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Slogans like “Nitish Kumar wapas jao” (Nitish Kumar go back) and “Nitish Kumar hai, hai (Nitish Kumar down, down)” rent the air as the chief minister entered the SKMCH to meet the victim children and their families.

They were angry at the health officials showing little interest in the children admitted to various hospitals and dying for want of proper care.

TV grabs too showed the hospital beds crowded by children and their distraught parents looking anxious about their health.

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Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey especially came under severe criticisms after he was caught on camera asking about scores in India’s cricket match against Pakistan during a Press conference being held by Union minister for health and family welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday.

Dr Vardhan visited Muzaffarpur hospital to take stock of the situation arising out of this disease which has spread in epidemic form.

Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi came down heavily on the state government over encephalitis deaths and described it as “cold-blooded murder of children”.

An official report said the suspected encephalitis has killed 108 children in the past over a fortnight. Most of the deaths have been reported from Muzaffarpur.

According to a report in a Hindi daily, the disease has claimed around 500 lives of children in the past nine years. Health experts have identified the disease as Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

The AES causes fatal inflammation of membrane of the brains which leads to sudden fever which can cross 104 degree F, headache, disorientation, tremors, convulsion, vomiting and paralysis.

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