RDS_190612 Encephalitis Bihar outbreak Social media-1560342376904
Image Credit: Twitter/@MukulAdhikary5

As the death toll increases in the Indian state of Bihar due to an encephalitis outbreak, panic has gripped the state and the issue is being widely talked about online.

Many shared images from hospitals filled with ill children and distressed parents. Twitter user @MukulAdhikary5 posted a picture and wrote: “A child showing symptoms of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) being shifted to a hospital in Muzaffarpur.”

Others like user @RishiKNagar posted update about the epidemic: “India: 36 children died in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district in the last 24 hours. 133 children are admitted to hospitals due to suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). The doctors said many of the deaths were due to hypoglycaemia, a condition caused by very low level of blood sugar.”

This is not the first time India has had an emergency related to encephalitis. In the past, the infectious disease has taken lives of many in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Twitter user @Sinha_Nagmani questioned why precautions have not been taken to avoid such tragedies in the first place: “Kids death of encephalitis in Bihar or anywhere in India. Why do we wake up after massive causalities? Planning may also be done prior, these cases always occur during rainy season in Bihar and reasons are also known but... I wish people start early and be proactive.”

Tweep @rahulvats199 had similar concerns over the reoccurring issue: “Alarming! ... Every year during summer time, especially in the season of luscious fruit litchi, AES outbreak gets reported and takes the lives of children in the district.”

User @aanand_03 chose to directly tweet at India’s Ministry of Health and Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health: “Please look at the encephalitis issue in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. It’s very sad that children are dying. Please provide help as soon as possible to state government.”