Bihar AES toll puts Jharkhand on alert

With rising AES-related deaths in Bihar, the Jharkhand government has directed all hospitals and medical colleges in the state to be on high alert.

So far, 81 children have died from acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Bihar.

The Jharkhand government has put all 24 districts of on high alert, directing authorities to keep a close watch on the people coming from affected region. As pre-emptive measures, the civil surgeons (CS) of all the districts have been asked to keep a watch on the disease, said Jharkhand health secretary Dr Nitin Madan Kulkarni on Sunday.

While lab tests are on to pinpoint the exact cause of the disease, a section of doctors in Bihar suspect that litchi might cause AES. However, Kulkarni, who is also the food commissioner, ruled out banning the supply of Muzaffarpur litchi in Jharkhand markets. “Litchi cannot be [seen as] the reason for the disease, as no scientific evidence has come to the fore so far,” he said.

Doctors at the Rajendra institute of Medical Science (RIMS), Ranchi, also said that no report had confirmed yet that litchi caused AES. “Last year, during litchi season, such cases were also found, but test reports did not confirm that the litchi impact caused the disease. Since the disease has again come up during litchi season, suspicion goes towards it. However, it is matter of research and the Indian Council of Medical Research could investigate the fact,” said Dr Vivek Kashyap, head of the department, preventive social medicine, at RIMS.

First Published:
Jun 17, 2019 04:03 IST

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