5 children die in Kolkata amid fears of adenovirus; Mamata chairs emergency meeting

Children in the age group of 0-2 are considered most vulnerable to the infection

Updated - March 01, 2023 07:15 am IST

Published - March 01, 2023 02:30 am IST - Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File | Photo Credit: ANI

Five children died due to respiratory infection at different hospitals in Kolkata in the last 24 hours, an official said on Tuesday evening.

The deaths were reported amid fears of adenovirus infection, but doctors were not sure whether these fatalities could be linked to it.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held an emergency meeting on the evolving situation, following which the government issued a series of directives and announced a 24x7 emergency helpline — 1800-313444-222.

All paediatric acute respiratory infection (ARI) clinics will operate at the medical college and hospitals (MCHs), district hospitals and sub-divisional hospitals, among others, round the clock, the directive said.

To curb the problem of patient referrals, it said that "no paediatric ARI cases shall be referred without the knowledge of the concerned MSVP/Superintendent of the hospital".

It also directed the hospitals to ready ventilators and other logistics to deal with the situation.

ASHA workers and other health workers will be sensitised on the alert signs of such infections, it said, stressing on raising awareness about the use of masks, and protection of children from crowds and public places.

"Regular training on critical care of paediatric ARI cases will be organised by authorities concerned," the directive said.

Five paediatric hubs — Dr. BC Roy Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences, Calcutta National MCH, North Bengal MCH, Bankura Sammilani MCH and Malda MCH, which were prepared to deal with such situations during the pandemic, will supervise the 'spoke' hospitals, it said.

"All the five children died due to pneumonia. We are still waiting for the test report on a nine-month-old to confirm whether she died due to adenovirus," an official told PTI.

Of the five children, two were undergoing treatment at the Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, while three others were being treated at the Dr. BC Roy Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences, he said.

Over the last weekend five more such deaths were reported in the State, he added.

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.

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