New Delhi: The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has risen to 69 in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur which includes 58 at Sri Krishna Medical College and 11 at Kejriwal Hospital. Also Read - Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Stage For Pappu Yadav's Rally Collapses, Takes Down Leader as Well | WATCH

The death toll due to AES has been on a steady rise for the past 10 days, with children being the worst hit. Some 48 deaths were reported last by the state Health Department, up from 40 reported cases last year.  (Encephalitis 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.) Also Read - Munger Violence: Congress Seeks Dismissal of Nitish Kumar, Others; EC Removes SP, DM | Top Developments

District Magistrate of Muzaffarpur on Friday told the media that for students till class eight, schools will remain closed till June 22 and for others, the classes will be held only till 10:30 am. Also Read - Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: 52.24% Voter Turnout Recorded Till 5 pm

A day after the seven-member Central team headed by senior paediatrician Dr Arun Kumar Sinha, national advisor in the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, visited Muzaffarpur to review the situation and to help the state in control of the disease, Union Minister of State for Health Ashwani Kumar Choubey reached Muzaffarpur.

Choubey, who belongs to Bihar, met doctors, health officials and parents of children battling for their lives during his visit.

SKMCH superintendent Sunil Kumar Shahi said a team of doctors have been working day and night to provide proper treatment to save the lives of the affected children. “We are in alert mode… taking no chances,” he said.

Health officials said that experts are of the view that monsoon rains will not only help bring down cases but also help to treat children. “In the last few years, we had closely seen that heat wave conditions help the virus to spread and intensify the disease… monsoon rains are best antidote for the disease,” an official said.

The state Health Department has already issued an advisory to people to take care of their children during daylight hours and not allow them to play under the open sky.

With IANS inputs