BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
Patna: A mystery disease has taken the lives of more than 28 children in Bihar since the last one week. According to the state Health Department officials, all of the children were between two and eight years. They died in Muzaffarpur town, 80 kilometer from the state capital, Patna.
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.
Bihar Health Minister Ashwani Choubey told Beyondheadlines that a team of doctors from Delhi has been visiting Muzaffarpur to diagnose the disease.
Local doctors say the symptoms are similar to Japanese encephalitis.
But, they say, an important symptom of Japanese encephalitis is a stiffening of the neck, which is absent from the Bihar cases.
On June 19, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar informed the media that the disease had not been identified yet.
“Without identifying the disease how can we say what is killing the children there? The local doctors are giving treatment only on the basis of symptoms,” he said.
The officials said blood samples of some of the ill children have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune and National Institute of Communicable Diseases in Delhi for test and identification.
The team is visiting Kejriwal Hospital in Muzaffarpur today. More than three dozen children are undergoing treatment in various hospitals in Muzaffarpur, Motihari and Patna.