Seven children have died due to respiratory infection in West Bengal in the last 24 hours, a senior health official said on Thursday.
The government, in a statement, said 12 Adenovirus deaths have been reported in the state so far, and of them, eight had comorbidities.
However, it did not term the deaths in the last 24 hours as due to Adenovirus and instead said that acute respiratory infections (ARI) were common during the ongoing season.
The state health authorities also said “there is no evidence of viral epidemic at present”.
The administration said it was prepared to deal with the situation, and has kept ready 5,000 beds in 121 hospitals, along with 600 paediatricians.
“In the last 24 hours, five children have died in state-run hospitals in Kolkata, and two at Bankura Sammilani Medical College and Hospital,” the official said, adding that the samples of those with Adenovirus symptoms were sent for tests and results are awaited.
The state government said that 5,213 cases of ARI were reported in the state in the last one month.
“ARI due to different viruses is a common seasonal phenomenon. However, the number of ARI infections appear to be higher in the current year as the seasonal surges due to Adenovirus were taken over by the surges of COVID-19 virus in the previous years (2021 and 2022).
“There is no evidence of viral epidemic at present. The current situation is nothing but a seasonal surge and number of infections due to Adenovirus have already started coming down,” the statement said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Wednesday held an emergency meeting on the evolving situation, following which the government issued a series of directives and announced a 24×7 emergency helpline — 1800-313444-222.
State Health Secretary N S Nigam had visited the Dr BC Roy Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences to review the infrastructural preparedness and announced that the number of beds in CCU and general ward would be increased.
Children in the age group of 0-2 are considered most vulnerable to the infection. Older children are less susceptible to the virus, doctors said, maintaining that most of the cases are treatable at home.
In children, Adenovirus usually causes infections in the respiratory and intestinal tracts.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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