Four more children died on Friday in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district taking the death count to 62, the state health department said. All the victims have fallen prey to hypoglycemia, a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance, officials said.
All the children died in two state-run hospitals of Muzaffarpur, one of which was visited by Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey during the day.
Of the total number, 52 children have died in Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) while 10 died at the private Kejriwal Hospital, reported ANI.
Since June one, 156 and 66 children were admitted in the SKMCH and the Kejriwal Hospital respectively with suspected cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) but most of them were found to be victims of hypoglycemia.
The condition of five children undergoing treatment in each of the hospitals is stated to be critical, the release said.
The health minister who held a meeting with doctors and officials said six more ambulances will be available at the SKMCH from Friday and a 100-bed new ward will be made operational there soon.
The Kejriwal Hospital's management also agreed to increase the number of beds if the need arises, he said.
Pandey said creating awareness among the people is needed to prevent the outbreak of the disease. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already directed the officials concerned to ensure that preventive measures were taken in the affected districts, though deaths have so far been reported from Muzaffarpur only.
Health Department's Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar had earlier said the disease has affected 222 blocks of 12 districts especially Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran.
In the wake of this grave situation, a multi-specialist high-level team, constituted by the Centre, on Wednesday visited Bihar in order to assist the state government in containment and management of the rising cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Gaya.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who reviewed the status of AES and JE cases in Bihar on Tuesday, said the Health Ministry is coordinating with the Ministry of Women and Child Union Development for distribution of nutritious food with glucose in meals to prevent the development of AES.