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    NEWS: Averting deaths in Muzaffarpur.
    SOURCE: The Hindu.
    WHY IN NEWS: Encephalitis broke out in Bihar.

    Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is a serious public health problem in India.

    It is characterized as acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) and/or new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year.

    The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.

    Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins and noninfectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades.

    Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the major cause of AES in India (ranging from 5%-35%).

    Nipah virus, Zika virus are also found as causative agents for AES.

    In India, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit on empty stomachs. Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities. Hypoglycin A is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the unripened litchi that causes severe vomiting (Jamaican vomiting sickness), while MCPG is a poisonous compound found in litchi seeds.



    NEWS: ‘Facebook plans to launch its own cryptocurrency next year’.
    SOURCE: The Hindu.
    WHY IN NEWS: Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is gearing up to launch its own cryptocurrency next year, the BBC reported on Friday.

    Facebook is calling its cryptocurrency Libra. It expects to launch the service publicly in the first half of next year.

    The new currency will be a cryptocurrency similar to bitcoin. A cryptocurrency is a kind of money that does not exist in the form of bills or coins. Governments and banks do not oversee the money. Instead, it is exchanged digitally between buyers and sellers using secret codes for security.

    A network of computers records cryptocurrency activity between users. The activity is included in a “ledger,” or list, known as the blockchain. The blockchain permits the activity records to be checked and stored securely. People keep their cryptocurrency in digital wallets that operate in a way similar to online banks.