Encephalitis outbreak blamed for deaths of more than 200 children in India
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 8/30/17, 09:15 am
At least 217 children have died in August under the care of a state-run hospital in northern India. Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur faced criticism earlier this month when 33 children died at its hospital during two-day period. The casualties coincided with the hospital running out of oxygen, leading to accusations of negligence. But a team of experts from New Delhi said the oxygen interruption was not responsible for the deaths. Dr. P.K. Singh, who heads up the hospital, said 42 children have died in the past 48 hours from the annual encephalitis outbreak and other medical complications. “Increase in fatality is because of seasonal infection,” Singh said. “Children died only because of medical complications, not because of medical negligence.” Encephalitis outbreaks occur annually during monsoon season. The outbreak causes fever, vomiting, and brain inflammation. Health experts have anticipated heightened deaths this year as northern India and other South Asian countries battle with the incessant rainfall and flooding.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.