Over 110 children have died in city of Muzaffarpur due to acute encephalitis, a neurological disease caused either by a virus or environmental toxins connected to the Lychee fruit. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is a vector-borne disease that can lead to brain dysfunction, seizure and inflammation of heart and kidney. Symptoms include high fever, and vomiting in extreme cases.
Muzaffarpur has turned out to be the worst nightmare for children as it has fared poorer as compared to some of the African countries. Everyone is questioning the cause of the children’s death. While the state government blames hypoglycemia as the root cause several doctors and public health experts and researchers have raised concerns over the government’s failure to keep such a disease in control.
The recent count of deaths that was reported was 117 which included 98 deaths reported from the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital whereas 19 others died in Kejriwal hospital. The state health society has ordered delegation of more doctors in order to manage this critical situation.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital to assess the situation and also declared an ex gratia compensation of Rs. 4 lakh each to the families of the deceased children who died due to AES.
Necessary directions have been given to the health department, district administration to take necessary measures in order to keep the disease in control. There is a fear that many people in Muzaffarpur and the adjoining districts in Bihar are infected with AES. The Union Health Ministry has sent different teams to investigate the root cause and strengthen the surveillance in the affected districts.
Some of the experts stated that there could be various factors responsible for AES ranging from bacteria, fungus, parasites, chemicals, toxins. Although Litchis are considered to be the primary cause, researchers say that the fruit can only be a contributing factor and not the cause. One of the experts even said there is a particular component in the fruit which can contribute to reducing blood pressure if too many Litchis are consumed in an empty stomach.
Death toll rises beyond 100 mark due to Encephalitis in Bihar
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