Bihar is under the state of an outbreak of brain fever with the death toll increased to 69 in Muzaffarpur district. While the medical officials have given the reason for the deaths to be hypoglycemia, a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance, the Bihar government is unsure of reasons of deaths the people in the state.
In an exclusive interview to Republic, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey said that the researchers had 3-4 reasons to give in the outbreak after their research. While he said that it can be caused due to dehydration after humidity, he also stated that eating lychee empty-stomach can also be a reason.
"The researchers had 3-4 things to say after their research. One, humidity causes dehydration in the body. Secondly, eating lychee empty-stomached. Thirdly, if the child sleeps empty stomached at night, it causes hypoglycemia. These are some of the main reasons that were told by them," Pandey said.
On being questioned about the ways to avoid the disease, he said that the best way is "awareness", adding that if there is enough awareness, there won't be any hypoglycemia.
"The best way to avoid it is awareness. If there is enough awareness, there won't be any hypoglycemia. Children should not eat lychee empty-stomached, they should protect themselves from the heat. If after these precautions, a child falls sick, there are sops and protocol which tell us what medicines to give the child and what kind of treatment the child will receive. We are treating the kid according to the sop. We are also spreading awareness in society through the radio and newspapers," he added.
Later on being questioned why is the disease spreading in the district, the Bihar Health Minister put the blame on the parents and guardians of the children saying that they would have gotten the kids faster to the hospital, the treatment would have begun immediately.
"I was in Muzaffarpur yesterday, and I spoke with some guardians, mother and father. One thing that came to my notice was that the day when the child fell sick. They got the child to the hospital 2-3 days later. If they would have gotten their wards to the hospital immediately. The treatment would have begun immediately too," Mangal Pandey said.
As many as 73 children have died so far in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, as per officials, saying that the death was due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already directed the officials concerned to ensure that preventive measures were taken in the affected districts, though deaths have so far been reported from Muzaffarpur only.