Litchi virus causing acute encephalitis syndrome?

Zee Media Bureau

Bihar: A new study suggest that Bihar's 'shahi litchi', famous for its unique flavour and taste, might have claimed the lives of over 70 children in the Muzaffarpur district of the state.

Experts have collected the sample of litchis to identify the virus.

The symptoms of the disease are described as Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

The virus strain of the disease remains a mystery till date.

The disease has also led to the deaths of children in the Malda district of West Bengal this year.

Prabhat Kumar Sinha, who is heading a six-member team from the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, collected samples of litchi from orchards in affected areas for toxicology study after hue and cry over rising number of children's deaths due to AES.

Some scientists have attributed the disease to litchis in Muzaffarpur district. But Sinha maintained that it is a subject of in-depth research.

The outbreak of litchi virus allegedly causing sudden deaths due to AES in Bengal and Bihar has also hit the sales of the popular summer fruit.

(With Agency inputs)