Muzaffarpur: Death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) rose to 62 here on Friday.

Of this, 62 deaths were reported from Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and the remaining ten from Kejriwal Hospital.

On its part, the Centre has assured all possible help. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has held a meeting with Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey at Nirman Bhawan in New Delhi, where he insisted upon the need for extensive awareness campaigns. He said that as the cases are from some defined areas in the high load districts, the state should also involve other stakeholders, like IMA and NGOs, for widespread awareness and education campaigns.

The minister has sought an active involvement of the district administration to make every deputy collector in-charge of one tehsil each to actively monitor and ensure that no child reaches a critical condition and that they are taken to the nearest health centre. He stressed upon the importance of sturdy mechanisms for monitoring and surveillance.

The Centre’s multi-disciplinary team is deployed there and has been supporting the state government in management and containment of the cases. He also suggested that the number of paediatricians in the SKMCH hospital in the state is augmented for effective treatment of these cases.

Vardhan said that food distribution to all children through the ICDS Anganwadi centres and hot meals distribution through NGOs will also help in boosting the nutrition levels of children in these districts.