Mystery disease kills three more in Bihar (Lead)

June 22nd, 2011 - 3:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, June 22 (IANS) Three more children have died of a mysterious disease in Bihar, taking the toll to 35, officials said Wednesday.

Two children died after contracting high fever followed by convulsions and unconsciousness in Muzaffarpur district late Tuesday while another died Wednesday.

Locals have termed the disease as “chamki ki bimari” and said the symptoms were similar to encephalitis — a disease that causes inflammation of the brain.

Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey said experts were in the process of identifying the disease and it was “not proper to term it encephalitis”.

Two expert teams — one from Pune-based National Institute of Virology and another from the union health ministry — visited a hospital in Muzaffarpur Tuesday where dozens of children are undergoing treatment.

“Both teams, along with local health officials, will also visit the villages where the children have died,” Gopal Shankar Shahni, a doctor at the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur, told IANS on telephone.

Principal Secretary (Health) Amarjeet Sinha said the experts would also collect samples of animals to identify the cause of the disease.

Over three dozen children are being treated in hospitals in Muzaffarpur, Motihari and Patna.

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