Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

Bihar files affidavit in SC, says taking 'all possible steps' to contain AES epidemic

ANI | Updated: Jul 02, 2019 22:32 IST

New Delhi (India), July 2 (ANI): Bihar government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on plea on children's death due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur district, saying it was taking "all possible steps" to prevent the disease.
"Bihar government had already taken all the possible steps to prevent the all possible disease by providing medical facilities at the affected region, public awareness campaign at the village level, involving various agencies to assist the government etc," the affidavit read.
The government said that it, in cooperation of Centre and AIIMS, provided all the medical facilities to treat the affected children.
The government said: "The steps taken up by the Bihar government has prevented the spread of the disease and has reduced the fatality rate arising out of the AES disease. Bihar government is aware and genuinely concerned with the problem of AES disease and its effect in recent years despite the best possible measures taken by the state of Bihar."
It told the court that sustained efforts to control the AES disease have shown some positive result with a reduction of the number of patients and casualties but the problem of AES disease still persists.
The affidavit was submitted on directions of a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai on June 24 on a petition by two advocates -- Manohar Pratap and Sanpreet Singh Ajmani -- seeking the constitution of a team of medical experts for the treatment of children suffering from encephalitis disease.
The apex court also had issued a notice to the Centre, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh governments asking them to file affidavits giving details of facilities pertaining to public health, nutrition, and sanitation for the treatment of children suffering from AES.
The court earlier expressed serious concerns over the issue, saying "it is a matter of great concern. This (death of children) cannot go on."
The two advocates had sought a direction to the Centre and the Bihar government to immediately arrange a 500-bed ICU (Intensive Care Unit) with required medical professionals to deal with the emergent situation.
The petitioners had also pleaded for a direction to the Bihar government to notify an "extraordinary government order" directing all private medical institutions in the affected area to admit and provide free-of-cost treatment to the patients.
Petitioners contended that the disease is "completely curable" and lives of children are being lost due to the "inaction" of the state machinery, which failed to take any steps to prevent the outbreak.
The plea had said that the state government has shown "no prompt" steps to prevent the spread of the disease in adjoining districts.
It had submitted that the Bihar government should pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased.
Over 154 children have lost their lives due to the disease in Muzaffarpur so far.
Encephalitis is a viral disease that causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions, and headache. (ANI)