Encephalitis in West Bengal: Death toll climbs to 212

IANS| Last Updated: Aug 14, 2014, 15:54 PM IST
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Kolkata: The encephalitis outbreak in northern West Bengal has claimed one more life, taking the death toll in the entire state to 212, an official said on Wednesday.

According to BR Satpathi, director of state health services, 693 acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) cases were reported this year in the state.

"As many as 212 deaths due to AES have occurred in Bengal since January. Of them, 44 died due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE)," Satpathi told IANS.

JE is a subset of AES caused by the mosquito-borne virus.

The number of deaths this year due to AES in north Bengal is 108, while 40 of them were due to JE.

"There has been one death and two suspected cases of AES in the last one day," he said.

Encephalitis is a disease that results in inflammation of the brain, affecting the patient's central nervous system. It can be caused due to bacterial or viral infections of the brain, injection of toxic substances or increased complications of an infectious disease.

While the lesser symptoms include headache and fever, the more severe ones cause the onset of mental issues like seizures, confusion, disorientation, tremors and hallucinations.

For JE, while human beings are the dead-end hosts of the virus, pigs act as amplifying hosts that aid in spread of the disease.