August 20, 2005

India’s encephalitis death toll rises to 110

LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) - The death toll in an
encephalitis outbreak in India's northern state of Uttar
Pradesh rose to 110 on Saturday with 20 more deaths reported in
the past 36 hours, a health official said.

Most of the dead were children and more than 170 people
were in hospital, many of them in critical condition.

"Encephalitis is a perennial problem during the rainy
season, but the situation appears to be quite alarming this
time," said K.P. Kushwaha, a health official in Gorakhpur town,
worst hit by the outbreak.

Encephalitis, an acute form of brain fever, is caused by a
virus spread by mosquitoes and proliferates in water-logged
parts of India during the monsoon season.

Last year, about 50 people died of the disease in Uttar

India has suffered serious flooding during this year's
monsoon season, which runs from June to September.

In Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, and adjacent areas,
210 people have died of diseases such as leptospirosis,
gastroenteritis and malaria after the worst floods in history
hit the region three weeks ago.