No fewer than 152 children are afraid of having died in the midst of the ongoing & # 39; brain fever & # 39; outbreak in India, reports have claimed.
Young people in Muzaffarpur, in the north-eastern state of Bihar, succumb to encephalitis, which occurs when the brain becomes inflamed.
In the midst of a record-breaking heat wave, Bihar is home to 100 million people and is one of the poorest states in India.
Of the & # 39; fully curable & # 39; disease is said to be caused by dehydration and malnutrition, some reports even related to lychee fruit.
The Supreme Court of India has now ordered an investigation into central and state governments after a petition accused them of & # 39; inactivity & # 39 ;.
An unnamed Indian child is pictured on June 20 for treatment of encephalitis at Kejriwal Hospital in Muzaffarpur, in the northeastern state of Bihar. Up to 152 young people died
The outbreak takes place in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, where 100 million people live and is one of the poorest states in India. The city is 370 miles (600 kilometers) north of Kolkata, formerly Calcutta
An Indian woman is depicted as a grieving complaint about the loss of a child named Muskan Sahni, who died in government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and the hospital in Muzaffarpur on June 19.
Different reports vary in their number of deaths, with death rates coming in at 152, 129 and 122.
Sanjiv Khanna, a Supreme Court judge, said: & (39) We have issued (d) notification to the government of Bihar looking for a detailed response. & # 39;
This was in response to a petition filed by activist lawyer Manohar Pratap.
Petitions, known as public interest processes, are a common way for citizens to bring national and national governments into action.
A copy of the petition, which Reuters claims to have seen, called encephalitis & # 39; completely curable & # 39 ;.
It added that the & # 39; lives of young children are lost due to the failure of the state apparatus & # 39 ;.
And & # 39; most deaths are due to a lack of medical outbreak facilities.
Muzaffarpur lies approximately 370 miles (600 km) north of Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta.
The Sri Krishna Medical College and the hospital in the city are trying to treat patients, but allegedly struggling to meet demand.
A doctor said that most patients are half unconscious by the time they reach the hospital, that & # 39; poorly rested & # 39; is to treat so many of them.
Health official Ashok Kumar Singh claimed that most victims suffer from sudden and fatal drops in their blood sugar levels.
India & # 39; s health ministry repeated today that it would open a children's ward with 100 beds in Muzaffarpur.
It made this promise only after a similar outbreak in the area where 350 children were killed in 2014.
India is & # 39; the world's sixth largest economy, with major cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai where quality hospitals live.
A man is slept next to his daughter on June 20 while fighting encephalitis in a hospital in Muzaffarpur. The disease occurs when the brain becomes inflamed
The dilapidated Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, where children died of encephalitis, is shown. Hospitals in the area reportedly smell of urine in their corridors
Family members visit a child with encephalitis in a hospital in Muzaffarpur on June 20
The father of four-year-old encephalitis sufferer Khushbu Kumari was pictured on June 20 when he was transporting his son to a hospital in Kejriwal. The family then went to another hospital in the area
However, treatment centers in Muzzafarpur are in poor condition and often have power outages.
A hospital, visited by a Reuters journalist, reportedly smelled of urine in his corridors and allowed stray goats to roam around his grounds.
The central government of India is said to provide & # 39; all possible support & # 39; Bihar, while the state government also defended its response to the crisis.
But the country's leaders have come under fire because they have not responded to the tragedy.
Nitish Kumar, Bihar's prime minister, was arrested by angry parents when he visited a hospital for the first time last Tuesday – three weeks after the crisis began.
The health minister also came under fire when he asked during a TV meeting about the score in a cricket match between India and Pakistan to discuss the outbreak.
During a visit to the district last week, several doctors told Reuters that the deaths could be prevented through basic treatment and information about how to protect the most vulnerable people.
Pictured is Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital. Treatment centers in the area often have power outages, and some even reportedly have goats walking around their grounds
A mother comforts her child on June 20 while receiving treatment for the condition
There is a doctor on June 20 who examines a child with suspected encephalitis
WHAT IS ENCEFHALITIS?
Encephalitis is a rare but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed (swollen).
It can be life threatening and require emergency treatment in the hospital.
Anyone can be affected, but very young and very old people are most at risk.
Encephalitis sometimes starts with flu-like symptoms, such as high temperatures and headaches, but these do not always occur.
More severe symptoms develop over hours, days, or weeks, including: confusion or disorientation, seizures, changes in personality and behavior, or loss of consciousness.
Call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone else has these more serious symptoms.
It is not always clear what the cause of encephalitis is, but it can be caused by viral infections. Several common viruses can spread to the brain and in rare cases cause encephalitis, including the herpes simplex virus (which causes cold sores and genital herpes) and the chickenpox virus.
Many saw this as a sign of growing inequality in India, with the outbreak leading to a nationwide talk about how the country treats the poorest citizens.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not made a public statement about the crisis, but Health Minister Harsh Varadhan said Modi is following the situation.
Encephalitis, which is not contagious, is to blame for toxins in lychees, which are known to prevent the body from producing glucose.
Bihar is responsible for no less than 74 percent of Indian lychee production because of the ideal growing conditions, according to Fruit Crops, a book about agriculture in Asia.
Eating the fruit on an empty stomach can be dangerous, and similar outbreaks are also observed in the lychee growing regions of Bangladesh and Vietnam.
The link between lychees and encephalitis may indicate that people are at risk for hypoglycaemic encephalopathy.
This happens when a person's blood sugar level drops so low that they fall into a coma, have seizures or even sustain irreparable brain damage.
A dangerous lack of energy causes the cells in the brain to malfunction and causes them to swell, putting them at risk from the inflammation that causes encephalitis.
Dr. Mala Kaneria told BBC Hindi: & # 39; It is difficult to say with certainty whether children die from encephalitis, as there may be a number of reasons behind these deaths.
& # 39; It may also be due to malnutrition, insufficient levels of sugar and sodium or electrolyte imbalances. & # 39;
A child is embraced by her mother while fighting the deadly condition in the hospital
Encephalitis, which is not contagious, is attributed to toxins in lychees (photo). The fruit gives people the risk of hypoglycaemic encephalopathy. This happens when a person's blood sugar level drops so low that they can slip into a coma, get seizures, or even get brain damage
Lychees are depicted on the grounds of the Hichara village in Muzaffarpur on June 20
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