Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Encephalitis Kills 110 Children in India

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts



HYDERABAD, India (AP) - A rare summertime outbreak here of mosquito-borne encephalitis has killed 110 children in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh over the past six weeks.


Most of the victims were poor, malnourished children from rural areas who may have succumbed because of a sudden change in weather from intense summer heat to monsoon rains.


In the state's Dubba Tanda village, Soma Naik lost her daughter G. Bharti to the disease 12 hours after she developed fever.


``It happened so fast that we could not do anything to save my daughter. She died within hours,'' Naik said. The $1,040 compensation from the government ``will not bring back my daughter,'' she said tearfully.


P. Laxmi Rajyam, the state's director of health services, said the meningo-encephalitis, which causes inflammation of the brain, has affected at least 196 children across the state.


Local media have for weeks reported isolated deaths of children for an unknown reason. Rajyam confirmed the toll and the cause for the first time Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press.


``We have found that the people living in the periphery of the villages, especially near the fields and water bodies, have fallen victim to this disease,'' she said.


Rajyam said two federal laboratories in New Delhi and the western city of Pune had tested the virus and found no link to the West Nile virus that has caused encephalitis in the United States.


The disease hits India every year, but usually in the drier months of October-December and it usually causes fewer deaths.


``It is the first time we are witnessing this disease in June-July,'' Rajyam said.


World Health Organization spokeswoman Maria Cheng said encephalitis is endemic to Asia and around 50,000 cases are recorded every year.


``What is worrisome about this particular outbreak is the case fatality rate is around 55 percent, whereas normally it is 30 percent,'' Cheng said in Geneva. ``But I think the kids falling ill are perhaps not getting treatment immediately.''


India, a poor nation of more than a billion people, has scanty health care in rural areas. Many children may have been first treated with home remedies.


Cheng says the last year for which figures in Andhra Pradesh were available was 1999, in which 965 cases of the disease were reported with 200 deaths. Throughout Asia last year there were 50,000 cases and 10,000 deaths.


No treatment is available for meningo-encephalitis, but doctors can treat the symptoms. There also are vaccines and the usual action is to vaccinate a population once there has been an outbreak. ``They may have been strained for resources because of the SARS outbreak,'' Cheng said.


Rajyam said the number of cases is declining, but they have occurred in 10 of the 23 districts in Andhra Pradesh.


The symptoms start with very high fever, followed by fits, vomiting, then vomiting of blood, and finally, coma. There are also changes of behavior and delirium.


Many parts of India are experiencing above-average monsoon rains, causing heavier flooding than usual and sending thousands of people from their homes to higher areas.


``We are receiving good rains for the first time after a three-year gap and with the rains we have also got a massive attack of mosquitoes,'' said S. Venkateshwara Rao, a state lawmaker.


Srinivas Reddy's 4-year-old son Vamsi Krishna was among those who got the disease but survived.


``I was frightened that my son too is going to die, but I am thankful that I could take my son to the primary health center in time,'' Reddy said.


Associated Press writer Naomi Koppel in Geneva contributed to this report.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Poverty in India is horrible, The chief minister of that state called "Chandra babu Naidu" is trying his best to bring the whole state out of poverty but the times are not good.


I hear that there is no water in HYD and the rains are not coming so the farmers are dying with hunger.


Most of the people who try to work have no jobs and who work have no will to work.


The chief minister of that state spends like hell over making HYD into a "cyber city" but in reality people are dying of starvation .


Who cares if you have the most technologically advanced city for a few rich bastards, what about the poor? they just let them die like that.


Its horrible!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...