Over the past five days, more than 60 children have died at Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College due to various reasons, among them infections arising out of encephalitis
and lack of oxygen supply. Seven persons have died in the past few weeks due to Japanese encephalitis
in Manipur, while, 83 others are currently undergoing treatment in hospitals.
According to emedicinehealth.com, Encephalitis
is an inflammation of the brain tissue. Although viruses are the most common source of infection, bacteria, fungi, parasites, chemicals, and autoimmune reactions (limbic encephalitis) can also be responsible for encephalitis.
(JE) is a disease spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms usually take 5-15 days to develop and include fever, headache, vomiting, confusion, and difficulty moving. Symptoms that develop later include swelling around the brain and coma. JE is a serious disease that may cause death.
generally begins with fever and headache. The symptoms rapidly worsen, and there may be seizures (fits), confusion, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness, and even coma.
Signs and symptoms in infants
is harder to detect in young children and babies. Parents or guardians should look out for vomiting, a bulging fontanel (the soft area on the top center of the head), incessant crying that does not get better when the baby is picked up and comforted, and body stiffness.
Causes of encephalitis
can develop as a result of a direct infection to the brain by a virus, bacterium, or fungus (infectious encephalitis, or primary encephalitis), or when the immune system responds to a previous infection; the immune system mistakenly attacks brain tissue (secondary encephalitis, or post-infectious encephalitis).
In more than 50 percent of encephalitis
cases, the exact cause of the illness is not tracked down.
When to contact a medical professional
Patients must rush to medical professionals in case of sudden fever and other symptoms of encephalitis
According to guidelines issued by Apollo Hospitals:
— Treatment for mild cases, which may be mistaken as the flu, mainly consists of:
— Complete bed rest
— Increased fluid intake
— Anti-inflammatory drugs— such as Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Naproxen Sodium to reduce headaches and temperature
— Children and adults should avoid contact with anyone who has encephalitis.
— Controlling mosquitoes (a mosquito bite can transmit some viruses) may reduce the chance of some infections that can lead to encephalitis.
— Apply an insect repellant
— Remove any sources of standing water (such as old tires, cans, gutters, and wading pools).
— Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside, particularly at dusk.
— Vaccinate animals to prevent encephalitis
caused by the rabies virus.
Three months back a massive campaign for prevention of the deadly encephalitis
disease was carried out in Gorakhpur division. Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh first raised the issue of encephalitis
in 1998 in Parliament. Between May 25 and June 11 this year, the CM launched an immunisation drive that was conducted in 38 eastern UP districts. Children up to 15 years of age were included in this campaign.
Over 40,000 people have died due to encephalitis
in the division in the last four decades. Though vaccines are available for Japanese Encephalitis, there is no such vaccine for checking acute encephalitis
syndrome (AES) and better hygiene is the only way to ward it off.