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Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)

Topics covered:

Issues related to health.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)


What to study?

For prelims and mains: AES- causes, symptoms, effects and prevention.


Context: An epidemic of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has broken out in five north Bihar districts.

Locally known as Chamki Bukhar in the state.


About AES:

Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is a serious public health problem in India.

It is characterized as acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) and/or new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year.

The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.

Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins and noninfectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades.

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the major cause of AES in India (ranging from 5%-35%).

Nipah virus, Zika virus are also found as causative agents for AES.

In India, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit on empty stomachs. Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities. Hypoglycin A is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the unripened litchi that causes severe vomiting (Jamaican vomiting sickness), while MCPG is a poisonous compound found in litchi seeds.


Sources: down to earth.