Three more children with symptoms of acute encephalitis syndrome died on Friday at a hospital in Muzaffarpur district, PTI reported. With this, the toll in the encephalitis outbreak has now reached 139.

All three deaths have been reported from the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, said the Muzaffarpur district administration authorities. The hospital has accounted for 104 casualties by itself since June 1.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar refused to take questions on the encephalitis crisis. He was approached outside the state Assembly where he accompanied Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan during the filing of his nomination for the Rajya Sabha bye-poll.

Opposition leaders have also criticised the Bihar government for not being able to control the outbreak. Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Bhai Virendra said that Kumar’s refusal to answer queries was “nothing else but giving vent to frustration over his government’s inability to control the epidemic and having nothing to say to the media on the issue”.

On Thursday, the National Human Rights Commission had issued notices to the Centre and states over the “deplorable public health infrastructure in the country”. The commission said it issued notices based on media reports of deaths across the country due to “deficiencies and inadequacies in the healthcare system”.

NHRC has also instructed teams, comprising doctors and officers, to visit hospitals and primary health centres in “vulnerable states” to conduct a fact-finding inquiry. The commission has directed the teams to start with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.