state health administration sent teams from the city's School of Tropical
Medicine and Indian Council of Medical Research to the Malda Medical College
and Hospital on Sunday where the children died.
The children were admitted with complaints of high
fever, headache, vomiting and convulsions.
hospital authorities report six more children in the age group of 2-4 are
admitted with similar complaints.
Dipankar Majhi, Health department Assistant, told the journalists that the
primary diagnosis of children affected with the viral infection is encephalopathy,
and the blood and stool samples and throat swabs of children showing symptoms
of the infection had been collected.
is an abnormal condition of the brain that can result
in inflammation and hemorrhaging. Acute encephalitis syndrome is
generally called Litchi syndrome, a name derived from the fruit litchi, and
Malda is a major contributor to litchi production.
"The parents noticed fever and spells of
vomiting which intensified and culminated in convulsions, leading to death in
five to six hours. The symptoms are so sudden that before the doctors could
assess the patients they succumbed. We are advising parents not to feed litchi
to children below ten years," said Dr. Prakash Gyne a local physician.
components of the litchi fruit are identical to those contained in Jamaican
fruit, ackee, which caused death of children due to Jamaican vomiting sickness
(JVS), an acute encephalitic disease.
But, experts refuted media claims of lichi fruit
being the cause of viral illness.