Lychee Fruit Is Killing Children in India After Causing Mysterious Brain Illness

Lychee Fruit Is Killing Children in India After Causing Mysterious Brain Illness PHOTOGRAPH: greissdesign/Pixabay | Under Public Domain

Over the last two decades, many children in India died after suffering mysterious seizures. Doctors were clueless about the cause of the pandemic.  Finally, after years long of inexplicable deaths, scientists managed to find the cause of the illness. Scientists discovered that the lychee fruit caused the bizarre epidemic.

Lychee: Cause of the Epidemic in India

The mysterious illness killed more than 100 children yearly. Strangely enough, deaths occurred the same period each year – around mid-May. Parents, whose children have fallen victim to the strange disease, woke up to their children screaming in pain. All of them remembered their children as being healthy before they were struck with the illness.

Through numerous studies conducted for many years, American and Indian scientists discovered that eating too many lychees on an empty stomach is the main culprit. An official result of the study published on Tuesday highlighted that the high concentration of toxins found in unripe lychee seeds caused the seizures that lead to being in a state of coma, until eventually death. The findings were published in a medical journal called The Lancet.

Symptoms observed from children who died of mysterious illness

According to CNN, before the official study was published, parents observed one common thing about their affected children. They woke up with seizures and then went into coma. Forty percent of children who showed these symptoms died afterwards.

However, hospitals and doctors attending to the children noted more telling similarities seen among the children. First, they all lived in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. This village is known to be the largest producer of lychee in India. Second, the bizarre illness only happened from May to June when children spent most of their times at the orchard eating lychees. Third, other cases of the mysterious illness were reported in Vietnam and Bangladesh. These two countries are also among the largest growers of the fruit in question.

Are all lychees deadly?

If the result of the study published on Tuesday is anything to draw conclusions from, the fruit per se is not poisonous or deadly. As noted in the study, too much consumption of the fruit on an empty stomach aggravated the toxins found in the seed. In fact, the study suggested that the dangerous effect could have been prevented if the kids were warned not to consume more than the normal amount that an individual should eat. A full stomach before eating lychee could also have minimized the perilous effect.

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