‘Brain fever’ death toll passes 150 in Indian state
The death toll from a brain disease that has stricken children in India’s Bihar state rose above 150 yesterday as a court ordered an investigation into the crisis.
The country’s Supreme Court also demanded the government explain what measures it has taken to combat the spread of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) -- a deadly disease that has been widely linked to the eating of unripened lychee fruit. Authorities said 152 children have died in districts across the eastern state, with 131 in two hospitals in Muzaffarpur, the epicentre of the outbreak.
Health officials said 111 children have died at the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, and another 20 at the Kejriwal hospital, which is run by a private trust. Muzaffarpur’s chief magistrate ordered an investigation into possible negligence by federal health minister Harsh Vardhan, as well as Bihar’s health minister.
In New Delhi, the Supreme Court also ordered Bihar’s government to report on “medical facilities, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene conditions” in the state. Lawyers for the Bihar government told the court that the crisis was now under control.