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17th August, 2017
AES Update: This is not the time for a "blame game"
 
Dr KK Aggarwal
The recent tragic deaths of children due to encephalitis in Gorakhpur medical college have hit the headlines in the last few days. These deaths also generated a lot of debate on the issue. Unfortunately much of the debate centered on "finger pointing". This is not the time for a "blame game". 
 
This is not the first outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in the region. Many such outbreaks have been occurring for several years now and each epidemic has taken a heavy toll of lives.
 
By now there should have been a state of the art hospital to manage AES patients. There should have also been a research facility to examine why the area is vulnerable to AES, establish effective surveillance systems, plan a response plan, predict future outbreaks etc.
 
This is the time to look to the future and not talk of the past or even the present outbreak. Drawing from the lessons of the past years, we must be able to anticipate such local outbreaks and be ready to respond to them systematically and in a timely manner to contain them. A research center focusing on AES will help to identify early warning signals for such impending outbreaks.
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