lychee seller in Allahabad : BBC
Since 1995 every year a mystery plagued the town of Muzaffarpur in Bihar, India. Every year in the month of May, June large number of young children would start showing signs of fever. They’d have seizures and convulsions, before slipping in and out of consciousness.
2014 was the worst effected year when hundreds of young children were admitted to hospitals local branded this as “chamki ki bimari,” or “tinsel disease.” Of 390 admitted 122 died that year.
Various speculations were made at one stage Heat, humidity, malnourishment, the monsoon and pesticides have all been considered contributing factors to the illness that resemble encephalitis symptomatically.
According to the study conducted in Bihar and effected areas, parents have reported that children in the affected areas spent most of the day eating lychees from the surrounding orchards, often returning home in the evening “uninterested in eating a meal.”
And those who fell ill are supposedly skipped their dinner led to night time hypoglycaemia.
When their blood sugar level dropped, the body would start to metabolise fatty acids to produce a necessary boost of glucose.
However, urine samples showed that two-thirds of the ill children showed evidence of exposure to toxins found in lychee seeds — found in higher levels in unripe fruits.
In the presence of these toxins “glucose synthesis is severely impaired,” the study said, leading to dangerously low blood sugar and brain inflammation in the children.
The Indian government issued a statement Wednesday advising children to henceforth “minimize litchi fruit consumption” in affected areas, and eat an evening meal during the “outbreak period.”