Encephalitis kills seven more, toll 19

Patna, June 6 (IANS) Seven more children have succumbed to encephalitis in Bihar, taking the total deaths in the state since early May to 18, officials said Thursday.

Two of the children died Wednesday and one Thursday morning in hospitals in Muzaffarpur district, a health official said.

Over half a dozen children were warded in hospitals in Muzaffarpur, about 70 km from here.

Bihar Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey blamed the deaths on the sudden rise in mercury since Monday following rains in north Bihar as well as humid weather.

This year, more than 70 encephalitis cases have been reported across the state. The symptoms of the disease include high fever, irritation and swelling of the brain.

Last year, the disease killed nearly 240 children in Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts.

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