Encephalitis breaks out in India

Encephalitis continues to occur in India. /dpa (archive image)

New Delhi – At least 146 children have died from acute encephalitis in northeast India since the beginning of June. Most of the victims in the state of Bihar were under seven years old, a representative of the local health ministry said yesterday.

Thus, 129 children died in a single hospital in Muzaffarpur district due to this brain inflammation, mainly caused by viruses. The region was already hit by a similar epidemic in 2013. At that time, 350 people died, most of them children.

Such outbreaks occur every year in the region that includes Bihar and the western state of Uttar Pradesh. The risk of encephalitis is particularly high during the rainy season, which lasts from June to October. Health officials say many factors can trigger these outbreaks.

The Indian government has sent specialists and additional medical staff from New Delhi to Muzaffarpur and Patna, the capital of Bihar, to bring the outbreak under control. Of more than 600 children showing symptoms of the disease, about half were discharged after being treated at the hospital, said Sanjay Kumar of the Bihar health department. © dpa/aerzteblatt.de

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