Quantcast
Connect with us

Anger in India as lychee-linked brain fever kills 103 children

Published

on

Angry protests erupted in one of India’s poorest states Tuesday over the deaths of more than 100 children from a mysterious brain fever potentially linked to lychees.

So far this month 103 children, mostly under 10 and malnourished, have died from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the Muzaffarpur area of the eastern state of Bihar.

The toll may rise with dozens more children undergoing treatment in packed hospital wards, where television pictures showed several children to a bed.

On Tuesday, dozens of people gathered outside the main hospital in Muzaffarpur to accuse local authorities of acting too slowly and of not caring.

The state’s health minister came in for particular flak after asking reporters about the score in India’s cricket match against Pakistan on Sunday during a news conference on the crisis.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Bihar’s Health Minister Mangal Pandey seems more worried about cricket score than the death of children,” tweeted Randeep Surjewala of the opposition Congress party.

Rabri Devi, another opposition figure, called the deaths “cold-blooded murder”.

“Children are dying because of a lack of medicines and treatment,” she tweeted.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was due Tuesday to visit the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College, where most of the children have died.

Media have been barred from entering the facility and the families of sick children asked not to crowd the premises.

– Outbreaks occur annually –

ADVERTISEMENT

AES sets in rapidly and is characterised by plummeting blood sugar, high fever, convulsions and paralysis. Its causes include viruses, bacteria and toxins transmitted in different ways.

Outbreaks have occurred annually during summer months in the same districts since 1995, typically coinciding with the lychee season.

Apart from 2014 when a record 150 children died, the annual death toll is usually much lower.

ADVERTISEMENT

Several years ago US researchers said the brain disease could be linked to a toxic substance found in lychees, the tropical fruit.

They also said more study was needed to uncover the cause of the illness, known locally as Chamki Bukhar, which is fatal in a third of cases.

The National Human Rights Commission has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government — as well as Kumar’s state authorities — to say if there had been a “possible flaw” in implementation of vaccination and awareness programmes.

ADVERTISEMENT

An editorial in the Hindu newspaper Tuesday said the deaths could have “easily been prevented with some foresight and early care”.

It said in 2014 an Indo-US expert team had saved 74 percent of sick children through a simple medical intervention.

“It is appalling that this year the government failed to raise awareness on this strategy.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bihar is one of India’s poorest states and home to almost 100 million people. It has also been hit by a heatwave in recent weeks with temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).

Most of the children affected by the brain fever belong to poor families who struggle to get even a square meal and often gorge themselves on the free-growing lychees on an empty stomach.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump ramps up new Twitter attack on four female Democratic lawmakers — raging they are ‘weak & insecure’

Published

on

Faced with a continuing firestorm over last Sunday's racist Twitter attack on four Democratic lawmakers -- who all happen to be women of color -- President Donald Trump was again returned to Twitter to attack the women instead of letting the issue die.

Moments after he used Twitter to attack the Washington Post for reporting on the turmoil he created -- which has been unversally condemned by Democrats and conservatives alike -- the president thought it was a good time to add fuel to the fire.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump launches furious attack on Washington Post for new report about his racist tweet debacle: ‘Presidential harassment!’

Published

on

President Donald Trump launched yet another attack on the Washington Post on Sunday morning, accusing the paper of "Presidential harassment!" for reporting on the fall-out from his racist tweets and his equally racist rally in North Carolina.

Responding to the Post's report that Kellyanne Conway was forced to tell the president that he had set off  a firestorm last Sunday with his tweets attacking four Democratic lawmakers, the president pushed back using his old stand-by: "Fake News."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera turns his back on Trump after racist furor: His ‘critics were much more right than I’

Published

on

Deep in a report on the fissures Donald Trump created between himself and some of his defenders, after he launched a racist attack on four Democratic lawmakers that led to an equally racist chant at a North Carolina presidential rally, Fox News contributor Gerald Rivera admitted that he now finds it near impossible to defend the president.

In an interview with the New York Times that came after Rivera blew up on a fellow Fox News host over the "send her back" chant aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) the longtime Fox personality said he has all but given up on Trump.

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image