Indian officials say the death toll from an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh has climbed to at least 175. Health officials say most of the dead are children.
They say another 250 to 500 people are undergoing treatment in government hospitals. The outbreak was initially confined to the town of Gorakhpur, some 250 kilometers east of the state capital, Lucknow, and other eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh. But according to state officials, the disease is now spreading to other areas, including Lucknow. Japanese encephalitis, which often hits children, is caused by a virus that attacks the brain. It is spread by mosquitos during monsoon season. Symptoms of the disease include high fever, delirium and distorted limb movements.