Acute Encephalitis Syndrome
A three-year-old boy died in Bihar due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), also known as brain fever, which killed about 200 children in the state last year.
• Last year, around 200 children have lost their life in Biharafter consuming lychee fruit.
• According to several reports, the fruit was found to be infested with virus and the patients showed symptoms similar to that of AES.
• All of the kids experienced similar symptoms, with a sudden drop in the blood sugar levels which led to their untimely death.
• The reason for high mortality in children is the lack of nourishment, which leads to a mismatch in the blood sugar levels and compromises your immunity as well.
What is AES?
AES is characterized as acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) and/or new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the major cause of AES in India.The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.
JEV has its endemic zones running along the Gangetic plain including states of UP (east), Bihar, West Bengal and Assam, and parts of Tamil Nadu.
Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins and non-infectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades.
The outbreak of JE usually coincides with the monsoon and post monsoon period when the density of mosquitoes increases while encephalitis due to other viruses specially entero-viruses occurs throughout the year as it is a water borne disease.
Symptoms include dizziness, headache, body aches, fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, confusion, feeling anxious or acting or talking oddly, vision impairment, hearing loss, back pain, weakness, trouble walking, or paralysis, unconsciousness.
Treatment and prevention
The first treatment plan for this viral infection is hydration and increasing the glucose levels in the body.
The first thing to do to stop the mosquito-borne disease is to keep the areas around your vicinity sanitised and stop the breeding of mosquitos.
Doctors also suggest drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated which supplies essential vitamins and flushes out any toxins from the body.
In other cases, getting vaccines for diseases like measles, mumps and varicella which affect children the most also help stay safe.
Linkage with Lychee
Children suffering from chronic malnutrition normally have depleted glycogen levels in their livers.
The fruit contains a toxin that inhibits the body's ability to produce glucose, which can affect young children whose blood sugar levels are already low because they have skipped dinner.
When these children eat unripe lychees, hypoglycaemia is induced in them - which is aggravated by toxins in the fruit.
This hypoglycaemia is irreversible and can hamper the functioning of the brain unless there is a quick and timely intervention in the form of glucose injections.