Should you be worried about eating lychee?
AES causes inflammation of the brain, leading to severe complications and possibly, death.
Bihar’s Health Department has said that 179 cases of AES have been reported since January, however the fatal cases have all happened in the past three weeks.
The Health Department has blamed hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, for the deaths but has said that toxins present in the lychee fruit have also played a role.
A health department official told media that once the temperature goes down, there are no more fatal cases of AES.
This means that extremely hot weather, low blood sugar play a combined role with toxins in lychee to cause AES.
A study conducted by Lancelot suggests that most of the children who died in an epidemic in 2014, had slept on an empty stomach. When the body tries to metabolize glucose from the liver, lychee toxins prevented it from doing so, thus resulting in extreme low blood sugar and brain inflammation.
So, should you stop eating lychee?
No. However, certain precautions must be taken, especially by young children.
Do not consume unripe lychees. Only eat the ones that are completely ripe. Make sure that if children have consumed lychees at any point in the day, then they do not sleep on an empty stomach. Try to put children to sleep in a cool area or room, and not in the heat. Be certain that children are well-hydrated.
You do not have to let go of your favorite fruit because of the deaths in Bihar. However, precautions must be observed.