At least 31 children in India killed by toxin in lychees

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 14, 2019

Dozens of children have died in northern India from a deadly brain disease believed to be linked to a toxic substance found in lychee fruit, health officials said.

Forty-seven children have died in Bihar's Muzaffarpur in the last four days and the state health department has cited Hypoclycemia, a condition caused by very low level of blood sugar, as the main reason for the deaths.

He said, "137 people were admitted in SKMCH hospital out of whom 40 causalities were reported".

At least 40 other children complaining of similar symptoms were being treated at intensive care units.

A total of 179 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome have been reported from Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital and Kejriwal Children Hospital in Muzaffarpur from January to June 13, it said.

The outbreaks of the disease have happened annually during summer months in Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts since 1995, typically coinciding with the lychee season.

Known locally as chamki bukhar, the disease claimed a record 150 lives in 2014.

In 2015, USA researchers said the brain disease could be tied to a toxic substance found in the exotic fruit - but said more study was needed to discover the cause of the illness, which causes seizures, altered mental states and death in more than a third of cases.

Outbreaks of neurological illness have also been observed in lychee-growing regions of Bangladesh and Vietnam.

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