Encephalitis outbreak in India's Uttar Pradesh kills 351

An Indian child with encephalitis lies on a bed at a medical college in Uttar Pradesh where hundreds of people have died from the disease this year.

Story highlights

  • Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain
  • It is primarily caused by food and drink contamination, and mosquito bites
  • The very young and the elderly are more likely to have a severe case
At least 351 people have died from encephalitis in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh this year, a health official said.
Uttar Pradesh is one of the hardest-hit states, and children between the ages of 3 and 8 are the most vulnerable, said K.P. Kushwaha, dean at BRD Medical College in Uttar Pradesh state's Gorakhpur district.
Outbreaks are common in the district, near India's border with Nepal.
Even among those who survive the disease, there is a 20% chance of residual deformity, including developmental disabilities, Kushwaha said.
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, primarily caused by food and drink contamination, and mosquito bites. Besides the very young, the elderly are also likely to have a severe case, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.