Are all fruits healthy?
Take a stroll near the litchi orchards and you find hundreds of bunches of litchis hanging on the trees. Where’s the twist? Well, all of them are blackening and rotting on the tree itself. There are no harvesters.
This is the scene of the litchi orchards in Muzaffarpur and nearby areas in Bihar, India. Yes, it’s the same place which is looked forward to during this particular season for the scrumptious litchis that grow here. But the scene is different from past few years. Hundreds of children are dying and the culprit is said to be the fruit!
How is litchi responsible for this chamki fever in Bihar?
Litchi fruit contains a toxin known as Methylene Cyclopropyl Glycine. Though normally the consumption doesn’t do any harm. But if under-nourished children consume it and sleep with empty stomachs, it can do its part of the harm.
It is normal for blood sugar to dip in the morning. This toxin further alleviates this and halts the conversion of fatty acids into glucose. This leads to the release of amino acids which proves to be toxic for the brain cells.
Why is it that only children of age 1-10 are being affected?
It’s difficult to answer that right now. Studies are going on but no concrete explanation has been reached yet.
Is the disease treatable?
There is no cure as such but if the condition is detected within 4-hours, i.e. if the symptoms are showing and bought to the notice of medical practitioners, 10% dextrose should be able to achieve full recovery.