Fix healthcare now, or future shock is certain -Patralekha Chatterjee
Encephalopathy is a disease in which the functioning of the brain is affected.
Whose children go to bed hungry? In a country with glaring social and economic disparities, hunger is a deeply political issue which many would like to dodge. But that is at the heart of the big story about the recent child deaths in Muzaffarpur, Bihar’s litchi growing belt.
At the time of writing, more than 100 children are dead of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) and over 400 others with AES are being treated at various hospitals. There are several theories about what caused such a large number of deaths this year. A combination of various factors — litchi toxins, extreme heat and humidity and malnutrition are seen to be responsible.
It comes as no surprise that in the early days, the blame for the AES outbreak was sought to be pinned on the litchi or rather a toxin in the fruit. This toxin reduces blood sugar. But we now know that overemphasising the role of the litchi toxin is to skirt the real issues that have led to such a horrific tragedy.
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