Two children who were bitten by a cobra while sleeping inside their home have died. Their mother, who also suffered a snake bite, remains in critical condition.

The incident happened at Beed village in the Indian state of Maharastra Wednesday night. Swapnail Sakhare, 4, and her sister Sweety Sakhare, 3, were asleep with their parents, Jayashri and Deepak Sakhare, on the floor of their home when the reptile attacked them, The Times Of India reported.

"The three-year-old girl woke up crying after the snake bit her. Not knowing that she had been bitten, her parents asked her to go back to sleep," a senior official at a local police station said as per the outlet.

The mother soon felt a sting on her leg. However, the woman brushed it aside, thinking it was just some bug. It was only after the father felt something cold on his leg that the family realized it was a snake.

The father immediately killed the snake and rushed Sweety and his wife to a local hospital. However, the family did not realize that the elder child, Swapnail, had also been bitten by the cobra. They left her at home, thinking she was fine. The child passed away after a few hours. 

"Sweety died on the way to the hospital, and the mother is currently on the ventilator at a state-run hospital," the police official added.

Forest officials visited the family's residence after the deaths were reported. According to authorities, the family should have avoided sleeping on the floor, especially since it was the rainy season. Apparently, the village where the family lived is located in the interior of the state and is a rural area.

India has the highest number of snakebite cases in the world. The country saw around 1.2 million snake bite deaths from 2000 to 2019, reported The Indian Express. According to the same report, snake bite is a "neglected public health issue in many tropical countries."

Just last week, the death of five people in a family in India, which was initially considered a mystery, was found to be due to a snake bite. The reason for their deaths only came to light after a researcher who studies rehabilitation of snakes visited the family's home. The bedroom where the victims used to stay was examined and holes were discovered on its walls. The expert also found a layer of skin of the common krait, a deadly venomous snake, inside the room. 

Cobra Representational image. Photo: Getty Images