Officials said that Bihar on Saturday sought help from the central government to tackle a mysterious disease that has killed 81 children in Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Patna districts during the past fortnight.
"We expect central government help and support to check and control the mysterious disease," Health Minister Ashwini Choubey said.
Seven more children died in Muzaffarpur in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 37 in the district. Ten children have died in Gaya.
Besides, 34 children have died in the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) in the past 15 days.
Dr. Sujata Choudhary, head of the department of paediatric in the PMCH, said 80 children suffering from the disease were admitted to the hospital, of which 34 died.
Health officials here said that over four dozen children suffering from "a mysterious disease" had been admitted to hospitals in the other two districts.
Choubey visited hospitals in Muzaffarpur Friday night and Gaya Saturday to take stock of the situation.
He denied reports that the children were dying of suspected encephalitis and said the department was yet to determine the exact cause of deaths.
"It may be due to acute encephalopathy syndrome, including heat stroke," Chobey said.
Some doctors and health officials have reportedly said the children were showing symptoms similar to encephalitis.
Opposition parties Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Lok Janshakti Party, the Congress and the Nationalist Congres Party blamed the state government for the deaths. "The state government is responsible for children's deaths," RJD chief Lalu Prasad said.
Last year, encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease, claimed nearly 150 lives in Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts.