After Bihar, U.P. braces for encephalitis season -Omar Rashid
The disease had claimed more than 154 lives in Bihar
Gorakhpur: The tension on Sunita’s face is palpable as she looks at her eight-year-old daughter who is asleep on a bed at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur.
While the official diagnosis is yet to be ascertained, doctors say the child has shown symptoms of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, a group of diseases that wreaks havoc in this part of east Uttar Pradesh in the monsoon season.
Suffering from high-grade fever, convulsions and altered sensorium or mental apathy, the child was first admitted to the hospital on May 29 and was discharged after 14 days but had to return for treatment after she developed sudden seizures.
“When we stopped the medicine, her fever would return. She would face jhatkas (convulsions),” said Sunita who hails from a village in Gorakhpur. A Dalit, Sunita and her family still defecate in the open as they are yet to get a toilet built. Her husband is a wage labourer, providing a glimpse of the socio-economic conditions of those affected by AES.
The disease hits the peak during monsoons, from July to October. Though the outbreak season is yet to commence this year, the BRD hospital has recorded 87 cases of AES and Japanese Encephalitis, of which 19 patients died. Authorities, however, say this is part of a declining trend since 2017 when the hospital was hit by the oxygen-supply tragedy.
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