Health officials in Bihar have said that a majority of the 30 children who died in two hospitals in Muzaffarpur suffered hypoglycemia and not Acute Encephalitis Syndrome as reported in the media, PTI reported on Tuesday.

Muzaffarpur District Public Relations Officer Kamal Kumar Singh said 30 children had died till Tuesday, including seven at Kejriwal hospital in Muzaffarpur, and 23 at Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital.

Principal Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar said a total of 26 children had died till Monday. “Eighty per cent of them were the victims of hypoglycemia, a condition caused by very low level of blood sugar,” he told reporters in Patna. Kumar, however, refused to provide district-wise count of the deaths.

“A team led by director-in-chief of health services has gone to Muzaffarpur to take stock of the situation prevailing there,” Kumar said. A seven-member team of experts from the central government will visit Muzaffarpur to find the reasons behind the deaths, Hindustan Times reported.

Kumar said children in 222 blocks of 12 districts have been affected, especially in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran. He said the reasons for hypoglycemia could include sleeping on an empty stomach, lack of water in the body and low glucose level in the blood.

Kumar said the Health Department has ordered for distribution of Oral Rehydration Solution packets among children, which would help maintain blood sugar level in the children. The health secretary said some of the children who died were malnourished.