NEW DELHI – The number of children who have died in two hospitals in the northern Indian state of Bihar due to an outbreak of encephalitis has climbed to nearly 100 after 44 minors died of the disease in the last five days, an official told EFE on Monday.
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain, most often caused by a viral infection, and affects the central nervous system, mostly of children and young adults.
Kamal Singh, spokesperson of the district administration of Muzaffarpur where the health centers are located, said the Kejriwal children’s hospital has registered 124 cases of acute encephalitis syndrome, with 17 deaths.
He said that 90 patients were still admitted in the hospital and nine were in critical condition.
Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital has reported 80 deaths since Jan. 1. It was not clear how many of the deaths were recent, but Singh said there had been very few cases in the first few months of the year, and 44 deaths had taken place just in the last five days.
Doctors at the hospital detected 290 cases of the disease in the first quarter of the year and 89 patients are still admitted due to the syndrome, which leads to high fever and in the most serious cases, convulsions and unconsciousness.
Encephalitis outbreaks are relatively common in some areas of India, especially during the period just before and during the monsoon season, which lasts from July to September.
Bihar, one of the poorest states in India, is among the regions most affected by epidemics and in June 2014, around 100 children had died of the disease within a month in the same region.
In 2011, encephalitis led to the death of 320 children in various states of north India.