At least 12 children have died in the past one week of suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Bihar's Muzaffarpur, while 15 are being treated at the city's two hospitals.
Five children died of suspected AES and JE over the past 24 hours, while 12 new patients were admitted, said a District Health official on Saturday.
Some 21 children were admitted at the Shri Krishna Memorial College Hospital (SKMCH) and 14 were admitted at Kejriwal Hospital on Friday.
"Of the 12 children who died in the past week, the death of two by AES has been confirmed," said District Civil Surgeon S.P.Singh. "We are investigating the reasons for the other deaths," he added.
According to Singh, most patients were brought in with high fever and hypoglycemia (a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar (glucose)).
"All primary health centres in the district have been put on high alert. But the people need to be cautious about their children as well. Give them as much liquid as you can and keep them hydrated," he said.
SKMCH pediatrician Dr G.S.Sahni said: "In children, the symptoms of AES are high fever, body stiffness and loss of consciousness. We're informing the public to be aware of these symptoms."
AES outbreaks are a routine in areas in and around Muzaffarpur in the summer months. The epidemic mostly affects children from poor families below 15 years of age.
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