Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, along with his deputy Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey, paid a visit to the families of children suffering from suspected acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Bihar.
The death toll has mounted to 100 despite the state and central governments assuring the families of all the possible medical assistance.
"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," the Union health minister told reporters in Bihar.
Sunil Kumar Shahi, Superintendent at Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), said, "Death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur has risen to 100."
State government officials, however, maintained that the majority of the victims had died due to hypoglycemia, a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance.
Acknowledging the paucity of paediatric ICU at SKMCH, he announced that the medical college will have a 100-bed paediatric ICU in a separate building that will be constructed within the same campus in a year.
A "state-of-the-art" research centre will also come up at Muzaffarpur, he said.
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-speciality block of the SKMCH so that other departments of the facility could extend help and cooperation in tackling the disease.
The minister said he met around 100 ailing children at the medical facility and their parents. "I went through each individual's case sheet," he said.
Seven children admitted at SKMCH and four in Kejriwal hospital were stated to be in serious condition, the release said.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already announced Rs 4 lakh ex gratia to the next of the kin of the deceased.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)