Adenovirus cases spike in West Bengal: Symptoms, treatment and precautions
Adenovirus: Adenovirus causes mild cold or flu-like illness which can affect people of all ages, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Bengal health authorities have been asked to be vigilant after the state recorded a big spike in adenovirus cases that has led to pediatric wards in state-run and private hospitals filling up fast. Health officials say at least 32 per cent of samples sent to the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (ICMR-NICED) in Kolkata since January have tested positive for the virus. Two children - a six-month-old boy and 2.5-year-old girl - died Sunday, though the cause of deaths has not yet been formally identified as the adenovirus, which causes a mild cold, or flu-like, illness that can affect people of all ages.
Infected people may have relatively mild symptoms like a cold or flu, a fever, and a sore throat, or acute bronchitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis and acute gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of stomach. Adenovirus can cause mild and severe illnesses but the latter is relatively uncommon. People with weak immune systems, existing respiratory or cardiac diseases are at higher risk of developing severe illness from adenovirus.
The virus is usually transmitted by physical contact with an infected person, the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. It can also be spread through the air (via coughs and sneezes) or a patient's stool; for example, while changing diapers.
There is currently no specific course of treatment or approved antiviral medication. Since most cases are mild, they are managed by pain-killlers or medication to manage symptoms.
Doctors suggest the best way to tackle the infection is prevention. Steps to avoid getting infected include avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with contaminated hands and to regularly use soap or sanitiser to wash your hands.