Death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has risen to 66 in Muzaffarpur in Bihar. Of the total number of fatalities, 55 deaths have been reported at the city’s Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital and the remaining 11 at the famous Kejriwal Hospital in Juran Chhapra area.
The sudden epidemic has become a huge cause of concern for the state government with these deaths becoming an annual affair since 1995. Most children dying of the outbreak of AES belong to economically weaker sections of the society.
Meanwhile, following intense coverage in international media over these deaths and the subsequent blame on the seasonal fruit litchi, the health department in Bihar has now advised families to not feed the fruit to their children in empty stomach in view of the disease assuming endemic proportions.
The authorities have also warned the families of not eat half-ripe or unripe litchis as a precautionary measure. Muzaffarpur is famous for its finest variety of litchi with May and June being the harvesting months for the fruit.
This is not the first time that the outbreak of AES has claimed so many lives of children. The disease claimed a record 150 lives in 2014.