Indian health authorities are being criticized over its response to contain the deadly Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) that has, for the last two decades, been wreaking havoc in several districts of the eastern Indian State of Bihar, like Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, Sitamarhi, Shivhar, Samastipur, Vaishali, and Begusarai.
The AES epidemic attains a peak every year in May-June in almost 236 villages of Muzaffarpur, killing innocent children; it disappears in the monsoons, only to re-surface the following year. In 2014, almost 800 children suffered from AES, with a mortality rate of 150.
According to some doctors, children affected with AES die mainly because of unbalanced blood sugar levels. But the root cause is yet to be identified. Experts say that after inducing glucose to the patient, sugar levels go up to 100 but drop down in no time. Doctors say that the children can be saved only if blood sugar level is maintained. Incidentally, this disease is affecting only the poor children, the ones already struggling against malnutrition and poverty. Despite several researchers trying to solve the mystery behind this epidemic, the reasons still remain unknown.
In 2014, samples were said to be sent to California for testing purposes but no progress has been reported so far. Last year a vaccination campaign was also run in the affected areas but the last visit of the former Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan to Kothiya village unveiled a different reality where he said, "92 percent children have not been vaccinated against this disease." Then on 22-23 June 2014, a special vaccination campaign was organized again and 43,269 children were vaccinated.