Almost 100 Children In India Dead Of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome; Researchers Believe Several Factors Contribute

Washington Post: A mysterious sickness has killed nearly 100 children in India. Could litchi fruit be the cause?
“…Nearly 100 children have died this month in India from an illness that impairs the functioning of the brain and sends the level of glucose in the blood plummeting. The deaths have occurred in and around the city of Muzaffarpur in the northern state of Bihar, one of the poorest regions in India. The illness strikes the area each summer, but in recent years the death toll has been less than 20. … About 100 more remain in hospitals. The deaths represent the worst toll since 2014, according to figures provided by a state health official. Doctors describe the illness as Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, or AES, which is characterized by the rapid onset of fever combined with disorientation and seizures. … [Researchers] posited that the illness might only occur with a combination of factors, for instance when a poorly nourished child eats a large number of litchis and then misses an evening meal. They also pointed to the limitations on local hospitals in providing critical care to such patients, which likely contributes to the death toll…” (Slater/Dutta, 6/17).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KaiserFamilyFoundation | twitter.com/kff

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.