Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mystery Disease Strikes 50 Children Dead In Bihar

June 29, 2011, Patna/ Muzaffarpur:  Clueless medical experts are waging a battle to identify a mystery disease which has plagued the remote region of Bihar, leaving 50 people dead in it wake.

Victims, mostly children between the age of one and eight, suffer symptoms of high fever and attacks of convulsion and unconsciousness, before succumbing to the disease.

"We still don't know. They have all the symptoms of encephalitis like inflammation of the brain.

"But, we are not certain of the main cause of the disease," Dr Braj Mohan, a senior paediatrician at the Sri Krishna Medical College (SKMC) in Muzaffarpur, Bihar told Bernama in a telephone interview today.

The death toll continues to be alarming in the impoverished eastern state, with 17 deaths recorded in SKMC over the last two weeks and about 38 fatalities at the KDKM Hospital, according to officials.

Scientists from Pune-based National Institute of Virology sent to the district since the outbreak, which largely affects rural children, have yet to detect the cause of the disease.

"It was also endemic in the 90s during this season, in the month of May to June (summer), when cases increase but numbers start to drop when it rains.

"Only children have been affected, and it happens among the poorer level, not in urban areas," noted Dr Braj.

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