Is Litchi Behind the Death of More Than 100 Children in Bihar?

Bhubaneswar: Mujaffarpur in Bihar is again in news for the death of more than 100 children in a disease that is attributed to the Litchi fruit. In the last few weeks, government and private hospitals in and around the district reported deaths of more than 100 children and treatment of more than 400.

Reports suggest that the deadly brain disease is linked to the litchi fruit which is grown abundantly in an around Mujafarapur in the season. Litchi has a toxic substance that is responsible for brain inflammation and sudden drop in Blood Glucose levels. This is not the first time that Encephalitis has taken a toll in Bihar. It has been occurring for the last 24 years particularly during the Litchi growing season. All the deceased and the affected people have the symptoms similar to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.

The health department has issued an advisory to take precautions as the temperature is soaring to more than 40 degrees – a favorable condition for the disease to grow.

Some international experts have also said that Litchi has a toxin substance that goes to the liver of children and the heat wave conditions help release them. The mysterious disease automatically decreases with the onset of rains. Many of the families have confirmed that their children have eaten Litchi and skipped dinner. Urine samples also showed exposure to toxins found in the seeds of Litchi. The toxins impair glucose synthesis in the body leading to drop in Blood Pressure and brain inflammation.

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