Tuesday, February 4, 2020

What caused the Muzaffarpur children deaths in June 2019. We still do not know.

To Sh Narendra Modi Ji
Hon'ble Prime Minsiter of India

Dear Sir

What caused the Muzaffarpur children deaths in June 2019. We still do not know. Four months left and we are not ready how to prevent  the same happening in 2020.

As per a TOI report almost half of children who died due to acute encephalitis syndrome in Bihar Muzaffarpur in mid-2019 had no history of Litchi consumption whereas majority of the rest were less than 2 years old and therefore not quite able to eat the fruit.

It is true that ICMR now has ordered for the investigations to ascertain the cause of sudden rise in deaths due to acute encephalitis syndrome in Bihar last year. But the the council will only start studying in April May with at the onset of Summer further possibilities.

In 2019 we had 125 deaths and more than 550 cases of AES.

Possible causes

1. Infective: Viral encephalitis, Cerebral malaria, scrub typhus
2. Non infective: malnutrition, refeeding syndrome (hypocalcaemia, hypoglycaemia, Hypophosphatemia and hypokalaemia) poor health infrastructure

In Muzaffarpur 48% of children under the age of five are stunted, 17.5% are wasted 42 % are underweight.

We need it to be managed the way we are managing the corona attack. This year the preparation should be such that no child dies of care. We must make shift hospital for such cases ready with all facilities  and all private nursing homes on board if need arises. We can not leave such disasters only on the states to manage.

Dr KK Aggarwal
Recipient of four National Awards (Padma Shri, Vishwa Hindi Samman, Dr B C Roy National Award and National Science Communication Award)
President Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Chairman HCFI Round Table on Health  wellness, Building Consensus
Past National President and Past Honorary Secretary General, Indian Medical Association

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