Bihar: Heatwave kills 45, Encephalitis toll rises to 73

Patna: The extreme heatwave in Bihar has claimed 45 lives in the past 24 hours and over 100 have been hospitalised. Along with heatwave, Acute Encephalitis Syndrome outbreak in Muzzafurpur has killed 73 children this month.

Most of the deaths were reported from Aurangabad, Gaya and Nawada districts of south-west Bihar.

These districts and Patna recorded the highest temperature of 45.8 degree Celsius after five decades.

In Gaya alone, 12 people died due to heat stroke.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan called the deaths in Gaya “unfortunate”. “It’s very unfortunate that people have died due to heat stroke. I advise people to avoid moving out of the house until the temperature reduces. Intense heat affects the brain and leads to various health issues,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

In Bihar’s Muzaffarpur Acute Encephalitis Syndrome outbreak has also become a major health concern. The deadly viral infection killed 73 children this month alone. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan visited Muzaffarpur today to take stock of the situation. The state health department had cited hypoglycemia, a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar, as the main reason for the deaths.

An advisory issued by the state health department said children between 1 and 15 years were susceptible to AES and Japanese encephalitis and timely treatment was the best way to deal with them. It said that the disease had spread because of excessive heat and humidity.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed grief over the deaths and announced “an ex gratia payment of Rs. 4 lakh to the next of the kin of those who have died”.

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