Indian SC orders investigation into ‘brain fever’ child deaths

24th June, 2019 10:42:35 printer

NEW DELHI: India’s top court on Monday ordered an investigation into an outbreak of “brain fever” that has killed at least 122 children, after hearing a petition in which the state and central governments were accused of negligence, reports Reuters.

The disease, Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, believed to be caused by dehydration and malnutrition, has reached endemic proportions in Muzaffarpur, a dirt-poor district of the eastern state of Bihar, which has some of the worst child health statistics anywhere in the world.

A similar outbreak killed 350 children in Muzaffarpur in 2014, leading to questions about why the state and central governments had not done more to combat the disease.

“We issue notice to the Bihar government seeking a detailed response,” said Justice Sanjiv Khanna, a Supreme Court judge, on Monday, in response to a petition filed by activist lawyer Manohar Pratap.

The petitions, known as public interest litigations, are a common way for citizens to pressure state and national governments into action.

A copy of the petition, seen by Reuters, said AES “is completely curable and lives of young children are being lost due to the inaction of the state machinery...