A mystery disease stalking children in Bihar claimed 14 more lives in 14 hours (between 10pm on Saturday and Sunday noon), taking the death toll to 179 in the last three weeks.
Central health experts are now considering taking the opinion of a US virology laboratory on the unidentified disease dubbed "acute encephalitis syndrome" in the absence of conclusive evidence and consensus.
Children struck by the disease are dying after bouts of high temperature and convulsions, but experts have not been able to say for sure if it is encephalitis - an acute inflammation of the brain. Most of the victims were between two and nine years old.
Epidemiologist Himanshu Chauhan of the National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi, on Sunday said, "A final decision on sending processed samples from affected children to the US laboratory would be taken by the NCDC in consultation with the union government."
Dr Chauhan is leading an NCDC team in the north Bihar district headquarters town of Muzaffarpur to ascertain the cause of the disease.
Muzaffarpur district is the epicentre of the disease, which has also killed 10 children in Gaya in south Bihar.
Gaya, however, has not reported any incident of "acute encephalitis syndrome" in the last three days.
The deadly run of the disease has landed 15 new patients at different hospitals and nursing homes of Muzaffarpur. At present, 96 affected children - 20 of whom are stated to be critical - are admitted to two hospitals in the town where the latest deaths were reported.