Why in News?

A paper in the Indian Journal ‘Current Science’ has stated that the consumption of a wild bean may have caused encephalitis in the Malkangiri district of Odisha.



What is Encephalitis?

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. Severity is variable. Symptoms may include a headache, fever, confusion, a stiff neck, and vomiting. Complications may include seizures, hallucinations, trouble speaking, memory problems, and problems with hearing.

Causes of encephalitis include viruses such as fungus, or parasites. Other causes include autoimmune diseases and certain medication. In many cases, the cause remains unknown.


Japanese Encephalitis Virus

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a flavi-virus related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses, and is spread by mosquitoes. JEV is the main cause of viral encephalitis in many countries of Asia with an estimated 68 000 clinical cases every year.



Currently, there are three vaccines available in India. Two i.e JENVAC and JEEV are manufactured by Indian companies, while another called   SA 14-14-2 is imported from China and is exclusively used in the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) of the Government of India


Recent discovery

Researchers say that the Encephalitis outbreak in Malkangiri, Odisha which killed over 100 children last year may have been caused, due to consumption of a wild bean called, BadaChakunda .Like several neuro-toxins, the anthraquinones in the bean do not harm healthy people but cause fatal dysfunction of the liver, heart and brain in underfed children.


Source-The Hindu.