Acute Encephalities is characterized by an acute onset of fever and clinical neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, disorientation, delirium or coma. This is mainly caused by bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemical and toxins. Experts say the causative agent of AES varies with season and geographical location. According to International Journal of Medical and Health Research, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit in empty stomach. “Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylene cyclopropyl glycine (MCPG), which cause vomitting if ingested in large quantities.” Furthermore, encephalitis is inflammation of the brain, severity is variable. Symptoms may include headache, fever, confusion, a stiff neck and vommiting.
It predominantly affects the population below 15-years of age. The state department cited hypoglycemia, a condition caused by low level of blood sugar, as one of the main reasons for the deaths in Bihar.
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Official data reveals that 83 children have died in Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), while 17 have lost their lives in Kejriwal Hospital in the city. The Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had earlier announced an ex-gratia of Rs4 lakh each to families of the deceased.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan visited Muzaffarpur on Sunday to take account of the situation. Bihar health officials are also struggling with the heatwave that killed over 40 people.