Encephalitis death in India's Bihar : What is it?

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain caused by viruses. It is also known as  Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) or 'Chamki bukhar'. It is a rare disease and mostly happens in children, the elderly and people with a weakened immune system. It can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.

A number of cases of encephalitis are reported in the Bihar state of India. Till now it has caused 100 deaths in Muzaffarpur and the adjoining districts in Bihar, most of which are in the age group of 1-10. The disease has spread in around 12 districts of Bihar which includes Muzaffarpur, Vaishali and East Champaran. Among these, Muzaffarpur is the worst hitting zone. Over 250 children are receiving treatment in two of Muzaffarpur’s hospitals.

Symptoms  : 

Symptoms of Encephalitis may vary in different cases. Symptoms in mild cases of encephalitis usually include fever, headache, poor appetite, loss of energy and a general sick feeling. Serious cases of encephalitis symptoms include high fever, severe headache, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, personality changes, problems with speech or hearing, memory loss, drowsiness, coma, etc.

Causes :

Any of the numbers of viruses can cause Encephalitis. Other than viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites can also cause this disease. Viruses may include Herpes viruses causing chickenpox, viruses causing childhood infections, such as measles, mumps, etc., dengue virus, etc. Some form may be caused by Mosquito Bite.

Treatment :

Children or adults suffering from Encephalitis should be kept in the Intensive Care unit or ICU. Their blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and body fluids need to be monitored regularly to prevent further swelling of the brain. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Naproxen Sodium can be used to reduce headaches and temperature. Corticosteroids may be used to reduce brain swelling.

The proper preventive measure should be taken in order to prevent your family and yourself from this disease. Drain the standing water in your surrounding, use mosquito repellents, wear full sleeves clothe to avoid mosquito bite. Drink boiled water, avoid outside food.

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