Asia

Brain disease linked to lychee toxins kills 47 children

Health authorities in the state of Bihar said Thursday that 47 children have died of acute encephalitis syndrome, which involves inflammation of the brain. Two hospitals in the city of Muzaffarpur had registered a total of 179 cases since January, they said, but the deaths occurred only in the past few weeks.In 2013, at least 351 people died of encephalitis in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh."This year, the number [of cases] has gone up a bit. The heat wave has been too intense, and it has gone on for too long," said Sanjay Kumar, a senior state health official.Natural-born killers: The fruits and veggies that could poison youThe state health department has blamed hypoglycemia — low blood sugar — for the children's deaths but said that lychee fruit, which is widely grown in the region, also plays a role."International experts have told us that lychee has some kind of toxin that goes and deposits in the liver of these children, and when the temperatures go up, those toxins get released," Kumar said. "The fact is that [Muzaffarpur] is a lychee-growing area. We suspect that there is some kind of role that lychee has in the case. But it is also true that once the temperature comes down and the rains come, lychee or no lychee, there are no more cases."According to a study about a 2014 outbreak of encephalopathy, published in The Lancet Global Health medical journal in 2017, one of the factors can be the consumption of lychee. Encephalopathy, or brain disease or damage, can be caused by encephalitis.Killer fruit? Lychee cause of mysterious disease that plagued Indian townThe study found that parents reported that children in affected villages spent most of the day eating lychees from nearby orchards, often returning home in the evening "uninterested in eating a meal." Children who fell ill were twice as likely to have skipped dinner, which, according to the researchers, probably resulted in "night-time hypoglycaemia."The Lancet study said that when the children's blood sugar level dropped, the body would start to metabolize fatty acids to produce a boost of glucose.However, urineRead More – Source

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