53 child death due to brain disease due to lychee fruit poison

A total of 53 children died in northern India in the last 10 days, due to brain diseases believed to be associated with toxic substances from lychee.

The deaths were reported from two hospitals in the Muzaffarpur district, Bihar state, which is famous for its lush lychee gardens.

All children show symptoms of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES). Most of them suddenly lose glucose in their blood.

 "The Ministry of Health has issued advisors for people to care for their children during the summer when the daytime temperatures are above 40 degrees Celsius," said senior health official Ashok Kumar Singh.

According to the report, there were 40 other children who complained about the same symptoms, and were being treated in an intensive care unit.

 "We tried our best to save them," said SP Singh, chief medical officer of the hospital and Medical College of Sri Krishna.

The outbreak of the disease has occurred every year during the summer months in Muzaffarpur and neighboring districts since 1995, usually coinciding with the lychee season.

AES disease is known locally as the Bukhar Chamki, and claims tens of lives almost every year.

In 2015, U.S. researchers said brain diseases could be attributed to toxic substances found in lychee.

They also say more research is needed to uncover the cause of the disease.

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