New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said that a team of experts has been deployed in the encephalitis-affected areas of Bihar to help in the treatment of patients.

At least eight additional Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances have been deployed to transport AES (Acute Encephalitis Syndrome)/JE (Japanese Encephalitis) patients in the affected districts, Vardhan told news agency ANI.

He also said, “ICMR team of experts has been deployed at SKMCH hospital, Muzaffarpur for making the virology lab operational at the earliest. The multi-disciplinary team deployed earlier is reviewing all the case records of AES patients, admitted and treated in 2019.”

Moreover, a house-to-house active case finding campaign has been initiated in the affected areas.

Earlier on Monday, senior BJP leader Dr CP Thakur accused the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government of not taking sufficient measures to curb the statewide crisis caused by the yearly AES outbreak.

Thakur had commented in a statement saying, “The government comes into active mode only at the time of the outbreak, when it should have been active beforehand to prevent it.”

The death toll of children due to encephalitis syndrome in Bihar stands at 136 with at least 121 deaths in Muzaffarpur. The cause of this massive outbreak is unknown but the possibility of a toxin effect due to the consumption of litchi has not been ruled out.