"Till date, 27 people have died of meningo-encephalitis (a combination of meningitis and encephalitis) in Gaya. In last week alone, the disease has claimed five lives, mostly children," official sources in the district administration said Tuesday.
The state government had rushed a three-member team of doctors to Gaya last week to examine patients undergoing treatment at different hospitals and stop the spread of the disease.
"We have collected samples and sent them for tests to the Pune-based National Institute of Virology to confirm the cause of the disease. It will take at least a week before we can start proper treatment," said Navin Kumar, a member of the team.
Khursheed Alam, superintendent of Gaya hospital, has confirmed the deaths in the last few days have occurred due to meningo-encephalitis.
He said over 150 people were undergoing treatment at various hospitals.
"The condition of some of the patients is critical," Alam said.
The number of deaths caused by meningitis is said to be much higher than the official figure. Most deaths in rural areas go unreported.