In one of the worst tragedies in recent times, at least 60 children have lost their lives in the last five-days at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
The deaths occurred due to various reasons including infections arising out of encephalitis.
What is encephalitis:
Encephalitis is a potentially life-threatening but rare disease causing "acute inflammation" of the brain. The term "acute", in medicine, is used when a disease appears abruptly and grows at a fast pace. A person afflicted with encephalitis requires serious medical attention according to Medical News Today.
What causes encephalitis:
Children and the elderly are more at risk of being afflicted with the disease. The usual cause of the rare disease is either a viral inflection. Sometimes it is caused when the brain's own immune system mistakenly attacks brain tissue.
What is Japanese encephalitis?
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), caused by mosquito-borne flavivirus. The disease belong to the same genus as dengue, yellow and West Nile viruses.
JEV primarily affects children as most adults tend to attain natural immunity from the disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Almost every type of encephalitis shows similar systems, although it is difficult for doctors to determine through clinical features the cause of the onset of disease. When diagnosing the disease, the doctors aim to determine whether it is caused due to viral infections or any other factor.
There are several vaccinations that are effective in preventing the disease which include vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella. In areas known to have mosquitoes carrying encephalitis-causing viruses, one must carry mosquito repellent ointments and apply it especially while going out.