Death toll rises in eastern India in encephalitis outbreak

Indian authorities say six more children have died in an encephalitis outbreak in eastern Bihar state, bringing the death toll to 112 children this month.

A government health bulletin released Wednesday says 170 children are being treated at hospitals in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the state capital of Patna. There have been more than 500 cases of encephalitis registered since the outbreak began June 1.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to the illness, which can cause swelling of the brain, fever and vomiting.

Thousands of Indians suffer from encephalitis, malaria, typhoid and other mosquito-borne diseases each year during the summer monsoon season.

Medical experts say India’s central and state governments remain unprepared for what is now an annual cycle of disease and death.

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