Cold wave in Bihar ends encephalitis epidemic

December 27th, 2011 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Dec 27 (IANS) The cold wave sweeping across Bihar has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the authorities trying to control an epidemic of Japanese encephalitis in Gaya district as no fresh case has been reported in the last ten days, officials Tuesday said.

The last case of suspected Japanese encephalitis was admitted to the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital (ANMCH) on December 16. “After that, no fresh case was reported. The disease is fully under control thanks to the cold wave,” Dr. A.K. Ravi, the hospital’s paediatrics department head, told IANS on telephone.

Gaya is reeling under cold wave conditions. The district continued to be the coldest place in Bihar with a minimum temperature of 3.6 degrees Celsius recorded Monday. Last week, Gaya’s temperature hovered around 4 to 5 degrees Celsius.

ANMCH’s Superintendent Sitaram Prasad said the hospital has decided to inform the government that the disease was finally under control.

The first encephalitis-related death in the district this year was reported on Aug 23. Since then, the disease claimed the lives of 93 children in Gaya in a span of four months. The children who died reported high fever, followed by bouts of unconsciousness and convulsions. Most of the children belonged to poor families. Over two dozen children are still battling for their lives.

Encephalitis is an acute inflammation of the brain resulting either from a viral infection or when the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the brain tissue.

A district administration official said that suspected encephalitis earlier hit Gaya in 2009, 2007 and 2005 and killed dozens of children.

Three and a half months ago, 55 children died in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district but the state government is yet to confirm these as encephalitis deaths.

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