As deaths due to encephalitis in Muzaffarpur mounted to 93 on Sunday, people created ruckus at a government-run hospital in Muzaffarpur while Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan was visiting to take stock of the situation.
Those demonstrating alleged inadequate services by the hospital and negligence by politicians.
Vardhan, accompanied by his deputy Ashwini Choubey and Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey, visited Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) where 79 children have lost their lives.
The central ministers, however, had to face public outrage as black flags were shown to their convoy.
A visibly distraught man, whose brother is admitted in the hospital, took off his shirt and protested against visits by political leaders and also alleged medical negligence.
"No one listens to us. Why do these politicians come here if they do not want to listen or care about us? Who made them leaders? We chose them and made them leaders. They are all thieves. Our children are dying.
"All leaders and media make a visit every day and then go. But no one thinks about us. My brother is admitted here. The management is not listening to us. What should I do? I'd rather prefer dying," said the man as media surrounded him.
Vardhan assured families of the patients of all possible help from the Centre.
"I assure the people of the area, especially the affected families, that the government will extend all possible help and measures to the state government," Vardhan told reporters.
State government officials, however, maintained that majority of the victims had died due to hypoglycemia, a condition caused by very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance.
Vardhan met the families at the SKMCH and held a meeting with senior officials and doctors.
Attributing heat and humidity as a possible reason behind the disease, the minister said the Ministry of Earth Sciences would help formulate an action plan with the state government to deal with the situation.
The India Meteorological Department's observatory in Muzaffarpur will be also be upgraded, he said.
Vardhan asked health officials to expedite and complete the super specialty block of the SKMCH, so that other departments of the facility could extend help and cooperation in tackling with the disease.
In the wake of the fatalities, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to families of the children who died due to the disease.
He has also given directions to the health department, district administration and doctors to take necessary measures to fight the menace.
Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey on Saturday said that the state government is doing its best to save children.
Speaking to ANI, Pandey said doctors and nurses are being called in from Patna for additional help.
Earlier on Sunday, attendants of patients had also alleged unavailability of doctors at the hospital, while a girl had died while Vardhan was present at the institute.
At another hospital named Kejriwal Hospital, 14 deaths have been recorded due to encephalitis.
It is a viral disease, which causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headaches and has been claiming lives in the district for the past few weeks.
With PTI inputs.