Taking a note of the rising encephalitis deaths in Bihar, the state Health Minister Prem Kumar on Friday ordered an inquiry to investigate if consumption of the litchi fruit is leading to the deaths.
Kumar informed that a team of agriculture scientists and horticulture officials will visit the affected areas.
He further said that it was widely believed that litchis could be one of the reasons behind the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak in Muzaffarpur district where 118 children have died in the last 20 days.
It may be mentioned here that an AES outbreak is normally reported during the litchi harvest season in summer, although till date, it has not been officially verified that the virus is caused by the fruit.
Muzaffarpur is known as the litchi hub of the country.