One more child died on Tuesday after being admitted to a hospital here for Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, even as officials insisted that the severity of the disease, which has afflicted more than 700 children across the state, has lessened.
The death was reported in the early hours at S K Medical College and Hospital, which has accounted for 111 casualties, the maximum number in the state, since June 1.
The government-run hospital has so far registered 435 cases of AES since the beginning of the month, according to figures released by the district administration.
In addition, 163 AES cases have been registered at the privately-owned Kejriwal Hospital, where 20 children have so far died. It has, however, been nearly a week since any casualty was reported at the hospital.
The Bihar Health Department had released state-wide figures, which put the total number of registered cases, across 20 districts, at 714.
SKMCH Superintendent Sunil Kumar Shahi said with the onset of the monsoon, the number of AES cases will likely come down.
"Like every year, the severity of the outbreak is diminishing with the onset of rains. This can be gauged from the fact that no deaths were reported on Monday and only five fresh cases were registered during the day. Till just a few days ago, we were receiving AES patients in droves," he said.
AES, known as 'chamki' in local parlance, is characterised by high fever and convulsions and strikes children north Bihar every year. The relatively higher number of deaths this year have been attributed to hypoglycemia or very low blood sugar levels.
The condition is said to be triggered by a toxin found in high concentrations in unripe litchi which is grown in abundance in Muzaffarpur and adjoining districts.