Fatal lychee plague: 47 children die of rare brain disease

The Indian state of Bihar is the largest litchi producer in the country. But the sweet fruit holds for the children of the Region, a deadly danger. In two hospitals in the city of Muzaffarpur media reportedly died in three weeks of at least 47 children, a brain disease that could be associated with the consumption of lychees.

More than a total of 179 children under the age of ten are Doctors that since the beginning of June, even in the so-called encephalitis ill, which causes swelling of the brain. The Indian government in Delhi has dispatched a Team of experts in the Region to assess the Situation. As a probable cause for the deadly epidemic and a poison in the still unripe lychee is a fruit.

Deadly phenomenon to the litchi season

Mass encephalitis-diseases among children occur in Bihahr again and again – and always at harvest time of litchi fruits. The connection discovered by U.S. researchers in the year 2014, as they examined a particularly deadly encephalitis-wave. The results have been published, among other things, 2017 in the journal “The Lancet Global Health”.

In the lychee season in 2014 in which 150 children died of the brain disease, researchers examined a total of 390 patients in two hospitals in Muzaffarpur. The children had usually eaten in the 24 hours before the disease lychees, but not a real dinner, had. They also suffered from hypoglycemia, which is explained by the fact that lychees contain the amino acid, Hypoglycin, to form the body prevents glucose.

Bihar is the poorest Region of India, in the summer it is about 40 degrees hot. Many of the children are malnourished, which is explained on the one hand, your Hunger on the fruit and on the other hand, susceptible to disease makes. The same phenomenon as in Bihar, observed, scientists, even in Jamaica, where the fruit at harvest time, the Ackee, also to the outbreak of encephalitis among children comes. Healthy and not malnourished children are not affected according to the researchers.

Sources: CNN / the Independent / The Lancet Global Health