Adenovirus, respiratory diseases take heavy toll among children in West Bengal
Even though the state health department is yet to publish any figures on the death toll, a senior official said that around 1,200 children are presently admitted in various hospitals across the state
At least five children, admitted with respiratory illness, have died in two State-run hospitals in Kolkata since Monday, highlighting the impact of respiratory illness triggered by adenovirus, officials said on Tuesday.
“While three children died at the B C Roy Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences two died at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. One of them was detected with adenovirus. The test results for the others are awaited,” said a senior health department official.
Even though the state health department is yet to publish any figures on the death toll, a senior official said that around 1,200 children are presently admitted in various hospitals across the state.
On Tuesday, the state health department issued a fresh advisory in which all medical colleges and hospitals, district hospitals, and subdivisional hospitals among others have been directed to run paediatric acute respiratory infection (ARI) clinics round the clock.
Hospitals have also been directed not to refer such cases without the knowledge of the superintendent. A helpline (1800-313444 - 222) has been launched. Five paediatric hubs developed across the state during Covid-19 have been directed to act as mentors for other hospitals.
“There is a seasonal increase of acute respiratory infections every year around this time. But this year there is an uptick. We have issued some directives to the districts and medical college and hospitals,” said Siddhartha Niyogi, director of health services in West Bengal.
Around one out of every three samples sent to the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (ICMR-NICED) in Kolkata for confirmatory tests since January have tested positive of adenovirus.
“Around 32% of the samples sent to us since January tested positive for adenovirus. In December it was 22%. Usually, it ranges below 10%. We are planning to send some samples for genome sequencing,” a senior official of ICMR-NICED in Kolkata told HT last week.
Health department officials said that the pediatric wards and critical care units at many hospitals in both private and State-run hospitals are full.
“There is no scarcity of paediatric beds in hospitals. It is only that the cases have become concentrated in some hospitals, one of them being the B C Roy Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences,” said Siddhartha Niyogi, director of health services in West Bengal.
Krishnendu Biswas, a resident of Birati in North 24 Parganas, rushed his six-month-old daughter to the BC Roy hospital with severe respiratory problems.
“She is in the ICU. Doctors are saying she has pneumonia. I rushed her to the BC Roy Hospital as it is among the best. But there is a severe shortage of beds,” he told media persons on Tuesday.
Doctors said that people with weakened immune system are particularly vulnerable to adenovirus. Fever, cough and cold and respiratory problems are the main symptoms.