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Afraid of Losing Children to Encephalitis, Bihar Villagers Flee

In Harishvanpur, 12 children have died due to the disease. Such is the fear that people have started migrating.

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Video Editor: Varun Sharma

The Acute Encephalitis Syndrome has wreaked havoc in Bihar, especially in Muzzaffarpur. With the death toll still rising, people have started migrating to escape the disease.

The Quint reached Bihar’s Harishvanpur village in Vaishali district to take stock of the situation. The village was deserted and many houses were locked. Even at the slightest mention of the word ‘fever’, the residents expressed fear and paranoia.

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Rajesh Sahani, a resident of the village, says that everyone is scared their children will die due to the disease. “Children are falling sick everyday, so people are migrating,” he said.

Rajesh has lost his daughter to the disease.

Desperate to protect their children's lives, many are seeking refuge at their relatives’ houses.

“Everyone is afraid of the disease (encephalitis) that they will lose their children to it. The number of sick children is increasing everyday. So people are leaving the village.”
Rajesh Sahani, resident.

More than 120 children have died in Muzzafarpur this year due to encephalitis. Every year, since 1995, children lose their lives to the disease. One of the major concerns is an acute lack of awareness among people.

Another resident of Harivanshpur, Chatri Sahani, says:

“One child died in PMC and one in Muzaffarpur (SKMCH). The two died in two different hospitals. The doctor didn’t even tell us what disease caused the death. He only said, ‘Chamki Fever has killed around 200 children here. Children can’t be saved from this disease’.”

In this village, 12 children have died due to encephalitis, but is migration the ‘cure’ for this deadly disease?

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