Acute Encephalitis Syndrome
What is Acute Encephalitis Syndrome?
- Recognised as AES, it is a neurological disorder which affects the brain and the limbic system when a specific strain of virus or a bacteria attacks the body.
- In the recent case, the virus found in the lychee fruit entered the body and attacked the immune system as well as the brain.
- Since the disease majorly inflames the vessels in the brain, it is also known as brain fever.
How virus enters and manipulates?
- Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue.
- Once the virus enters inside the blood, it starts migrating to the brain tissues and multiplies itself into numbers.
- As soon as the signal reaches to our immune system, it generates a response to it in the form of inflamed brain or we can say swelled up brain. When this self-generated response and the infection combines, this leads to viral encephalitis and it majorly affects the spinal cord and our central nervous system causing damage to the brain cells through virus-infected blood vessels.
How does this spread?
- Just like other viral strains, AES spreads through contaminated surfaces.
- Viruses such as enteroviruses may be contracted through contaminated water. Once infected the patient can infect more individuals through their secretions and saliva.
- In Bihar, it has been reported that the victims might have ingested toxins from the affected lychee fruit.
What are the symptoms?
- Encephalitis is very dangerous and timely treatment is key to recovery.
- With the only reported symptom being low blood sugar so far, the disease is something that manifests into more severe conditions, including very high fever, coma, delirium, seizure and disorientation upon deterioration.
Why are children more at risk here?
- Mortality rates in kids have been traced to be the highest amongst all those affected.
- The reason for this is the lack of nourishment, which leads to a mismatch in the blood sugar levels and compromises your immunity as well.
- The first treatment plan for this viral infection is hydration and increasing the glucose levels in the body.
- Nutrition and control of fever and seizures form the backbone of treating this disease. Some patients may also require breathing support and ICU care. In viral encephalitis, the antibiotics don't work and antivirals may be used.
How to prevent it?
- The first thing to do to stop the mosquito-borne disease is to keep the areas around your vicinity sanitised and stop the breeding of mosquitos.
- Doctors also suggest drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated which supplies essential vitamins and flushes out any toxins from the body.
- As a precautionary measure, one should only consume fruits and vegetables procured from the harvest after washing thoroughly.