Patna: Twenty children, including eight in the last forty eight hours, have died of a mysterious disease in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district, officials said on Friday.
"In the last one week a total of twenty children have died of the mysterious disease. Dozens of children have been admitted to different hospitals for treatment," a district health official said.
A P Singh, district civil surgeon, told IANS on phone from Muzaffarpur that the cause of the deaths could not be ascertained till now.
The district administration has sounded a high alert to check the spread of the disease. The children reported high fever followed by bouts of unconsciousness and convulsions leading to their death.
Local people termed the mysterious disease as 'chamki ki bimari' and claimed that the symptoms tally with encephalitis, a disease that causes inflammation of the brain.
"We cannot say anything exactly about the mysterious disease. It is difficult to say that children died of encephalitis. A medical team from Patna visited hospitals on Thursday for investigations," Singh said.
Official sources in the state health department here said there was no facility to identify encephalitis in Bihar.