With six more deaths, Japanese encephalitis, a brain infection, has killed 68 children in Bihar's Gaya district in the last 50 days, an official said on Monday.
Six more children died in the last three days at the Anugrah Narayan Medical College and Hospital (ANMCH), about 100 km from Patna, hospital deputy superintendent NK Paswan said.
"About 50 children are still battling for life in the hospital," he said.
Most children belong to Mahadalit families -- the poorest of the poor in the state.
A three-member team of doctors from New Delhi visited the hospital on Sunday and discussed the measures taken to check the spread of the disease, district civil surgeon Dilip Kumar said.
The first encephalitis-related death in the district was reported Aug 23.
Encephalitis is an acute inflammation of the brain resulting either from a viral infection or when the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks brain tissue.
The children reported high fever, followed by bouts of unconsciousness and convulsions.
According to ANMCH paediatrics head AK Ravi, most of the children who died were from rural areas of Gaya and neighbouring districts.
He said more than till date 306 children with suspected encephalitis have been admitted for treatment.
Suspected encephalitis in Gaya killed 46 children in 2009, 49 in 2008 and 29 in 2007, a district official said.