In a shocking incident, a total of over 60 children died in Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur due to shortage of oxygen supply. This shortage led to infections and ultimately 30 of these children had encephalitis that led to their eventual death. This acute disease causes the swelling of the brain that can turn fatal in a short period of time. Even as the hospital is in denial mode to take responsibility of the incident, there are letters being circulated that show that there was oxygen shortage reported a few months ago but action was due. Parents who lost their children are distraught by the news and there is pressure on the government to take stern action against the hospital. The tragedy took place over five days and so far the death toll is 63 children. We tell you what is encephalitis and what are its causes.

Encephalitis is more prevalent in children and older adults and can start of with symptoms like fever, headache and disorientation. It spreads due to a viral infection or when the body mistakenly starts attacking the brain tissue. As a result the brain gets inflamed and because this is an acute disease i.e. it can spread fast, it can be fatal if not treated in time. Even though encephalitis is not very common, it needs constant monitoring. There are also vaccines to reduce the risk of developing the disease. Japanese encephalitis which is a common viral form of encephalitis is caused due to mosquito bites. In order to avoid it, it is best to protect oneself from mosquitoes by using appropriate methods. In India, Japanese encephalitis is more common. (ALSO SEE Plants that act as mosquito repellents)

The diagnosis of encephalitis is not an easy one for doctors as its symptoms can be just fever and headache and he will have to test various things to figure out that it is in fact encephalitis. In India, several children die every year due to this disease and the number is higher in states like UP and Bihar. Here, the age group is not just children but adults as well. In fact, the government launched a vaccination campaign to prevent the spread of encephalitis in UP.

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