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Bihar Health Minister displays insensitivity, inquires about India-Pakistan match score during meeting on Encephalitis deaths

In between the discussion, Pandey was visibly more worried about whether the match would continue or not due to the onset of rain in Manchester, UK

In a shocking display of apathy towards the rising distress over the deaths due to the outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar, its Health minister, Mangal Pandey was caught on camera being more concerned about the India-Pakistan match rather than the deteriorating situation in the state.

Republic TV broke visuals showing Pandey, during a press briefing held by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of State for Health Ashwani Kumar Choubey and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey on Sunday, casually asking how many wickets had been lost by India, in the presence of Vardhan and Choubey, while discussing the ongoing treatment during his visit to the state-owned Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) to review the current health situation on-ground.

While doctors were seen sitting and discussing in the same room along with other media persons, Pandey was visibly more worried about whether the match would continue or not due to the onset of rain in Manchester, UK.

The outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar has become severe as twenty more children succumbed to the fever in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll in Muzaffarpur and other districts of Bihar close to 100.

Last week, Pandey had said that according to the team which was formed to ascertain the cause of this disease concluded that sleeping empty stomach at night, dehydration due to humidity and eating lychee on empty stomach were some of the primary causes of AES.

This syndrome is locally called the ‘chamki’ fever. Encephalitis, a rare disease, is an inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the brain. In most cases, a virus causes this inflammation. Most cases happen in children, the elderly, and people with a weakened immune system. It causes flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headaches.

Breaking several days of silence, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has also today called an emergency internal meeting to take stock of the situation arisen due to the outbreak of the disease. Reports say that health department senior officials are to be present in the meeting.

Meanwhile, there are reports that a case has been filed against Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey in a court in Muzaffarpur district on charges of negligence leading to the deaths of 82 children due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the past fortnight.

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