New Delhi: As many as 31 children have died so far in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, reportedly due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). Also Read - 'Raped In Dreams': Bihar Woman Approaches Police Against Occultist

Sunil Shahi, Superintendent SKMCH, Muzaffarpur told news agency ANI, “From Jan to June 2, 13 patients were admitted, of them 3 died. From June 2 to this day 86 people were admitted,of them, 31 died”. Also Read - Newly-Married Couple Attempt Suicide by Consuming Poisoned Chicken on Wedding Night in Bihar's Gopalganj

According to Health Department officials, after reports of more deaths of children from AES, the state government has introduced a verbal autopsy form to fix responsibility of lapses in treatment and referral. “We have a standard operating procedure for the treatment of AES,” said an official. Also Read - Bihar Unlock News Today: Covid-19 Curbs Eased From Today | What's Open, What's Shut

The Health Department has also issued an advisory urging parents to prevent their children from playing under the sun when the temperature is hovering between 42 to 43 degree Celsius.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a severe case of encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes. It is characterised by high fever and inflammation of the brain.

AES outbreaks are a routine in summer in areas in and around flood-prone north Bihar districts, where the disease is locally known as “Chamki Bukhar” or “Mastishk Bukhar”. The epidemic mostly affects children from poor families, below 10 years of age.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the Health Department was keeping a close watch and had directed people about the preventive measures. “Ahead of rains (monsoon), every year this disease creates havoc. It is a matter of concern that every year children die due to it.”

SKMCH pediatrician Dr G.S.Sahni said: “In children, the symptoms of AES are high fever, body stiffness and loss of consciousness. We’re informing the public to be aware of these.”

With ANI and IANS inputs