Patna: The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has mounted to 128 in Muzaffarpur, ANI said. At least 108 deaths were reported from Sri Krishna Medical College & Hospital (SKMCH) while 19 from Kejriwal hospital.

Communist Party of India’s Kanhaiya Kumar pays a visit to SKMCH Hospital in Muzaffarpur.

Earlier this week, activists from several organisations protested outside the Bihar Bhawan in the national capital demanding the resignation of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with the rising death toll in the state since the AES outbreak.

On Friday, ANI tweeted a video of the Bihar chief minister evading the flurry of questions from the media persons.

Meanwhile, in view of the rising encephalitis deaths in Bihar, state Health Minister Prem Kumar has ordered a probe to investigate if consumption of the litchi fruit is leading to the deaths. The minister said a team of agriculture scientists and horticulture officials will visit the affected areas. He said that it was widely believed that litchis could be one of the reasons behind the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak in Muzaffarpur district.

Also, a report had it that as much as Rs 80-100 crore was lost in litchi export business due to the encephalitis scare.

An AES outbreak is normally reported during the litchi harvest season in summer, although till date, it has not been officially verified that the virus is caused by the fruit.

What causes Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)?

Encephalitis, a vector-borne disease, is an acute inflammation of the brain caused by any one of a number of viruses, the World Health Organisation (WHO) states. However, the disease in rare occasions can also be caused by bacteria, fungi, and other agents. The disease can be transmitted through various vector-infected sources, be it mosquitoes, ticks or the bite of a mammal.

What happens in Encephalitis?

The disease causes the immune system of the person to respond to a previous infection, mistakingly attacking the brain tissue. The symptoms primarily consist of severe headache, fever, photophobia (extreme sensitivity towards light). It also causes stiffness of the limbs, and in severe cases, nausea, disorientation, memory loss, seizures and a possible coma.