Patna: With six more children dying, encephalitis is now suspected to have claimed 25 young lives in Bihar, an official said Wednesday.
The six children died in the last two days at Anugrah Narain Medical College and Hospital (ANMCH) in Gaya, about 100 km from here, said the district health official.
Nineteen children had died earlier.
The children reported high fever, followed by bouts of unconsciousness and convulsions.
Till date, over 75 children with suspected encephalitis admitted, to the hospital, said its superintendent, Sitaram Prasad.
"Most of the children were from rural areas of Gaya and neighbouring districts. More than two dozen children are still battling for life," he said.
Measures were being taken to check the spread of the disease, said Health Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey.
Suspected encephalitis hit Gaya in 2009, 2007 and 2005 and killed dozens of children, said a district administration official.
Fear of suspected encephalitis is haunting the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) here with 45 samples of brain fever cases having tested positive in the last one-and-a-half-months. Three people reportedly died due to the disease.
The state health department is running short of Japanese encephalitis kits to test the infection.
"In view of seriousness of the issue, ANMCH and PMCH have sent an SOS to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, to send the kits soon," an official of the health department told reporters.
Two months ago, 51 children died in Muzaffarpur district but the state government is yet to confirm these as encephalitis deaths.
Last month, union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad informed the Rajya Sabha that clinical and epidemiological data suggested that it was an outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome, resulting in 150 cases and 55 deaths, mostly among children.
In a written reply, the minister said these cases were reported from early June to mid-July from Muzaffarpur and its bordering areas.