Fresh deaths due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) have been reported in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district, taking the total number of casualties to 128.
The deaths took place at the Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), where 20 fresh cases were brought since Tuesday night. The number of children admitted to the hospital with AES are 372 since June 1, the district administration said.
The SKMCH has reported 93 casualties so far and only 118 children have been discharged after treatment. The rest are undergoing treatment or referred to hospitals in the Patna in a critical condition, it said.
In the Kejriwal hospital, two fresh cases of the AES were reported since Tuesday night, taking the total number to 146 since June 1. The hospital has so far reported 19 casualties, though none of these took place in the past 24 hours.
One death was also reported from the neighbouring East Champaran district on Tuesday.
A release by the state health department said 11 medical officers posted in Darbhanga, Supaul and Madhubani had been instructed to leave for Muzaffarpur immediately to help the local health authorities in tackling the outbreak.
Three paediatricians posted in other districts have also been pressed into service, while 12 nurses have been directed to report to the civil surgeon of Muzaffarpur.
Anguished by the deaths, a Muzaffarpur resident has filed a petition at a local court against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his deputy Sushil Modi, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Minister of State Ashwini Choubey and state Health Minister Mangal Pandey.
The resident, Mohd Nasim, accused them of negligence, which has resulted in the high number of casualties. The chief judicial magistrate court has posted the matter for hearing next Tuesday.
Nitish Kumar had on Tuesday visited the SKMCH hospital, where he faced protests by angry people over the deaths.