Patna: The death toll due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur has risen to 134, including 113 from Sri Krishna medical college Hospital and 21 from Kejriwal, ANI reported on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a team of doctors visited the homes of children suffering from AES to conduct an independent study, NDTV reported. Based on their study, the doctors have opined that asbestos homes, where the kids lived, could be one of the factors responsible for causing deaths of children.

“Besides issues like too much heat and malnutrition, we found that most of those who died were living in asbestos sheet home where the temperature in the night too doesn’t go down. Most of the parents also admitted that they did not receive either ration or ORS (oral rehydration solution) packets which are mandatory as per protocol and are supposed to be distributed by the authorities from March,” the leading news channel quoted team lead Dr Harjeet Singh Bhatti as saying.

The team also found that these children were not vaccinated for Japanese Encephalitis, while ruling out litchi as one of the primary reasons for the deaths.

The doctors stated that most of the AES affected kids suffered from a metabolic disorder, in which mitochondria did not function properly, leading to multi-organ failure and high levels of toxic ammonia.

Citing negligence at government hospitals, the team also noted that there are not enough doctors to treat patients at the Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital with only four doctors and three nurses looking after at least 500 patients who turn up on a daily basis at the OPD.

Earlier, the Supreme Court reprimanded Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government over the deaths of over 150 children across the state due to AES. The top court had asked the state government to file an affidavit on the questions concerning the adequacy of medicines and nutrition and hygiene amongst others in a week’s time. “This can’t go on, we need answers,” the top court had said.