Health ministry to set up permanent multi-disciplinary group to look into encephalitis cases
As Bihar grapples with acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) that has claimed 112 lives so far, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan decided to constitute a permanent multi-disciplinary group of experts at the Centre to monitor and formulate measures to be taken up in the event of such an outbreak.
The central group will comprise of experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), World Health Organisation (WHO), Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Women and Child Development along with experts of meteorology, nutrition and agricultural science.
Harsh Vardhan also chaired a meeting of experts who deliberated upon the factors causing high child mortality in the reported acute encephalitis syndrome/Japanese encephalitis (AES/JE) cases in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar and the immediate measures to be taken up to prevent them.
"We discussed the socio-economic profile of the households which have reported such cases, their nutrition profiles, ongoing heatwave, reported high percentage of hypoglycemia in children who have died, prevailing health infrastructure in the district and other factors that could significantly be considered in these cases," the minister said.
Senior officers from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women and Child Development, experts from AIIMS, NCDC, ICMR, Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were present at the meeting.
The Health ministry has further deployed five central teams of pediatricians and paramedics to further strengthen management of AES/JE cases in Bihar.