Recently there had been a wave of information, right or wrong, on social media regarding the occurrence of encephalitis or chamki fever due to the consumption of the litchi fruit. So, how true is it? We talked to our specialist doctors at Bansal Global Hospital and they shared some knowledge regarding the issue. Let’s discuss it further.
While it is true that the fruit is somehow being related to the occurrence of fever and other symptoms in children, it isn’t the exact cause for encephalitis syndrome. The toxins in litchi fruit are leading to cases of hypoglycaemic encephalopathy, which is, in fact, different from encephalitis syndrome as the symptoms differ quite vastly, says our senior medicine consultant.
We asked our paediatrician Dr Neha Bansal why children and which children are at risk. She says children who are undernourished and have litchis at day time are at risk if they go to bed with an empty stomach. That’s because the toxin stops the body’s natural mechanism to manage low blood glucose level. This further leads to a drop in fuel supply to the brain.
And therefore, the children of families who live in litchi orchards are more at risk as they are already suffering from malnutrition (being from low-income families) and sometimes restrict their diets to just litchis all throughout the day.
So, as a conclusion, it can be said that litchi fruit does not cause encephalitis but disease as deadly. It is still to be decoded as to why only children are being affected by the disease, but till then it is really important to raise awareness so that even low-income families are informed and can take best possible care of their children’s diets.