Govt apathy is the epidemic that’s killing Bihar children

Bihar, AES, Deaths, Muzaffarpur, Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, Encephalitis, Encephalopathy
The cause behind the deaths in Muzaffarpur is unknown.

Exactly two years ago, Muzaffarpur made national headlines after finding a place in the exalted Smart City list. The much-touted Smart City Mission was launched by Prime Minister Modi in 2015 with the promise of changing urban lives and living experience in 100 Indian cities within five years. Of course, the original deadline was later extended to 2023. But even as the mission chugs towards a new deadline, Muzaffarpur continues to be living hell as it has been for decades.

As of Thursday (June 20), more than 100 children, most from economically weaker families, have died in Muzaffarpur. Hemanti Devi’s son was one of them. The young boy was out on the fields playing with his friends before he fell violently ill. The frightened family, residents of Mirhar village in Muzaffarpur district, rushed him to Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) when he started vomiting and convulsing.

However, even as the death toll continues to rise, the actual cause of death remains a mystery with the state health department yet to identify the exact cause. While doctors maintain that the deaths are due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), state officials claim that the victims were affected by hypoglycemia, a condition caused by low blood sugar, electrolyte imbalance due to high temperatures and extreme humidity.

What is AES and Bihar's tryst with it

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