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Malda - unidentified virus claimed 10 lives, suspecting litchis

Malda - unidentified virus claimed 10 lives, suspecting litchis
A four-member team from Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine (CSTM) that visited Malda to enquire into the crib deaths, suspecting that massive consumption of litchis coupled with irregular food habits may be behind the deaths.
The experts also doubt that spread of an unidentified virus in the area may have claimed the lives.
At least 10 children within the age group of 1 to 5 have died in the past three days in Malda with most of the deceased and patients reported from Kaliachak area.
“We discovered that children consumed litchis during the day and were not allowed to eat anything after dusk. This proved fatal as the fruit caused a drop in their blood sugar levels. As a result, children showed signs of convulsions during morning hours before dying within a few hours,” said a member of the team requesting anonymity.
He said, the affected area from where the deaths have been reported is inhabited by children who are mostly malnourished. “Parents kept their children fed only on litchis without any staple food. They may have consumed unripe fruits which carry harmful toxins,” he added.
A senior member of the team, also requesting anonymity, said blood sugar levels in affected children were below 40 mg/dl, as against the normal limit of 70 to 110 mg/dl.
“The sugar levels were extremely low which may have been the result of remaining on empty stomachs for several hours after consuming the fruit. Besides, an unknown virus may have also attacked the central nervous system killing them within a few hours,” he added.     SNS

 Crib death toll reaches 10 in Malda

Another child today died in Malda taking the recent crib death toll to 10, while 15 others admitted to the Malda medical college and hospital with the mysterious disease are in critical condition. Food processing minister and chairman of district patients’ welfare committee Krishnendu Choudhury held a meeting with the special team of physicians, who arrived in MMCH today to access the situation.

Notably, a six-member team from School of Tropical Medicine (STM) headed by Dr. Bhaswati Banerjee and Dr. Mehbubar Rahman reached Malda today. The team was also joined by additional director of health services Dr. Dipankar Majhi.

Speaking to the press, Dr. Banerjee said the root cause of the disease is yet to be ascertained. However, they visited different regions talking to the families of the affected children. The team also collected litchi samples, as primary investigation revealed the mysterious disease is being suspected to be caused by a virus from the fruit, added Banerjee.

Minister Choudhury said the state government has made best possible arrangements for the treatment of the affected children. Moreover, the government will bear the expenses on behalf of the affected families, noted Choudhury.

However, the guardians of some of the sick kids complained they were forced to get the blood tests done from private clinics for almost unaffordable rates. A family said they chose to shift their ward to a private nursing home following the misbehaviour of the hospital staff members..

MMCH Principal Dr Saibal Mukherjee countered the allegations and said the hospital is not equipped for all type of blood tests. However, the MMCH authority will soon reimburse the amounts spent on the tests by the patients’ family, he added.(EOIC)

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