Encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease, has killed 18 children in Bihar's Muzafarpur and Gaya districts, while more than three dozen are still fighting for their lives, health officials said on Monday.
According to officials, the disease has killed 11 children in Muzaffarpur and seven in Gaya in the last eight days. But Bihar Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey said that cause of their deaths is yet to be ascertained.
"I have no information about the exact cause of the deaths. It appears to me that the deaths are because of malnutrition and the extremely hot weather," Choubey told rediff.com over telephone.
A top health official in Gaya has directed civil surgeons of all the districts to provide complete treatment to the patients.
Last year, 93 children died of the disease in Gaya and 55 in Muzaffarpur.