Kolkata: As many as seven children in West Bengal's Malda district have died due to the litchi syndrome, a viral infection leading to sudden death, in the last five days, an official said Saturday.
The deaths of the children aged between two and four years were reported at the state-run Malda Medical College and Hospital.
"From June 3, till 8 am in the morning June 7, seven children have died. The viral syndrome occurred last in 2012 and can be called rare," MA Rashid, hospital's vice principal-cum-superintending officer, said.
The virus, found in litchi fruit, affects the brain causing swelling. It is said to originate in China. In India, it is seen in the summer months in some parts of north India, Rashid said.
Rashid said, "The parents noticed fever and spells of vomiting which intensified and culminated in convulsions, leading to death in five to six hours."
"The symptoms were sudden. A team of specialists from the School of Tropical Medicine in Kolkata and a team from Indian Council of Medical Research will visit the area today (Saturday)," he added.