Bihar: Death toll due to suspected acute encephalitis rises to 128

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 19, 2019, 07.13 PM (IST)

The death toll of children due to suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar reached 128 on Sunday, news agency ANI reported citing Bihar Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a viral disease, which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headaches and has been claiming lives in the Bihar districts for the past few weeks.

While the health experts have long been dumbfounded by the root of the encephalitis outbreak, commonly known as brain fever, in Bihar some have suggested that natural toxins in lychees could harm undernourished children by blocking their ability to produce enough blood sugar, which can lead to death. 

The link to the fruit, however, is inconclusive, said Alok Ghosh, the Muzaffarpur district magistrate, who said that in about half of the known cases of encephalitis, the children had not consumed lychees, news agency Reuters reported.

But as a heat wave sweeps India, dehydration is also said to be a reason for the Encephalitis outbreak.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea seeking a direction to the Centre to urgently constitute a team of medical experts for the treatment of the children in Bihar's Muzaffarpur, who are suffering from AES.

A vacation bench of justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant will hear the plea next Monday after the petitioner's counsel sought an urgent listing of the matter.

The plea also sought a direction to the Centre for providing all necessary medical equipment and other supports for the effective treatment of the children suffering from the epidemic disease.

Story highlights

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is a viral disease, which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headaches and has been claiming lives in the Bihar districts for the past few weeks.