Indian hospital
© AFP 2019 / STR
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome has spread like wild fire in the Indian city of Muzaffarpur, claiming 20 lives alone on 16 June. Consumption of popular local Lychee fruit has been cited as the cause of the virus' rapid spreading by officials.

At least 100 children have succumbed to the Encephalitis virus in the Indian city of Muzaffarpur in Bihar state over the last few days.

As per official data, 83 of these children died in the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), while 17 succumbed to the virus in the city's Kejriwal Matrisadan hospital.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is a viral disease which causes symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and body aches.

Some media reports quoted officials as suggesting that the spread of the virus was caused by the consumption of Lychee fruit.

Indian Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Sunday visited the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital where many children have lost their lives.

Following his visit, Dr. Vardhan assured the aggrieved children and their families that the necessary assistance and care will be provided.

"I assure the people of the area, especially the affected families, that the government will extend all possible help and measures to the state government," Vardhan was quoted as saying by The Financial Times.

Meanwhile, Bihar state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced ex-gratia compensation of about 400,000 rupees (circa $5,714) to the families of the children that have lost their lives due to the virus in the last few days.

The virus is locally known as "Chamki Bukhar" and has claimed around 150 lives since 2014, reports the Medical Xpress website.