AES deaths: Bihar court orders probe against Harsh Vardhan, Mangal Pandey

25 Juin, 2019, 20:26 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Death toll in Indian encephalitis outbreak rises to 152

The bench directed the Bihar government to file an affidavit on the adequacy of medical facilities, nutrition and sanitation and the hygiene conditions in the state.

In response to the petition, Indian supreme court justice Sanjiv Khanna said "We issue notice to the Bihar government seeking a detailed response".

A three-member committee on Tuesday began its probe to find the source of human skeletal remains found near Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Bihar's Muzaffarpur, where most of the patients diagnosed with acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) are being treated.

During the hearing, one of the lawyers informed the court that similar deaths had occurred earlier in Uttar Pradesh. The hospital is already struggling following the death of 140 children due to the mystery disease, whose causative factor remains unknown and affects the brain of children.

Hashmi alleged that the Ministers did nothing to sensitise people in Bihar about AES though the disease had been killing children in the state for years.

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The petitions, known as public interest litigations, are a common way for citizens to pressure state and national governments into action.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said the site and design of a 100-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district have been finalised. "The death toll due to the disease has reached 152".

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the children who died due to the AES.

The petitioner sought a direction to the Centre for constituting a board of medical experts and immediately sending it to Muzaffarpur. Symptoms include high fever, vomiting and, in severe cases, seizures, paralysis and coma. Among the factors said to trigger the syndrome are malnutrition.

Litchis grown in Muzaffarpur, the country's largest litchi cultivation region, are said to contain a toxin which can cause a drop in blood sugar levels if consumed by a malnourished child.

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