Bihar encephalitis update: Total toll 18

Seven more children have succumbed to encephalitis in Bihar, taking the total deaths in the state since early May to 18, officials said on Thursday. Two of the children died Wednesday and one Thursday morning in hospitals in Muzaffarpur district, a health official said. Over half a dozen children were warded in hospitals in Muzaffarpur, about 70 km from Patna.

Bihar Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey blamed the deaths on the sudden rise in mercury since Monday following rains in north Bihar as well as humid weather. This year, more than 70 encephalitis cases have been reported across the state. The symptoms of the disease include high fever, irritation and swelling of the brain. Last year, the disease killed nearly 240 children in Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts.

What is encephalitis?

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Encephalitis is a disease that results in inflammation of the brain. The patient s central nervous system is affected. While the lesser symptoms include headaches and fevers, the more severe ones cause the onset of mental issues like seizures, confusion, disorientation, tremors and hallucinations. It can be caused due to bacterial or viral infections of the brain, injection of toxic substances or increased complications of an infectious disease.

Source: IANS

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