The death toll from a brain disease that has stricken children in India’s Bihar state rose above 150 on Monday as a court ordered an investigation into the crisis.
The country’s Supreme Court also demanded the government to explain what measures it has taken to combat the spread of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)—a deadly disease that has been widely linked to the eating of unripened lychee fruit.
Authorities said 152 children have died in districts across the eastern state, with 131 in 2 hospitals in Muzaffarpur, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Health officials said 111 children have died at the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, and another 20 at the Kejriwal hospital, which is run by a private trust.
Muzaffarpur’s chief magistrate ordered an investigation into possible negligence by federal health minister Harsh Vardhan, as well as Bihar’s health minister.
Social activist Tamanna Hashmi—who filed a complaint at the court—confirmed that the investigation had been ordered.