Adenovirus Cases Registers Sharp Spike in West Bengal the State is on High Alert
Adenovirus Cases Registers Sharp Spike in West Bengal the State is on High Alert: Medical colleges across the state and chief medical officers of health of all districts have been directed to check preparedness and take stock of equipment and infrastructure. West Bengal has reported a sharp rise in adenovirus cases, even as beds in pediatric care units in various hospitals are rapidly filling up.
Even though the state health department has not released any data on the number of children affected nor the death toll to date, officials said at least 32% of the samples tested at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (ICMR-NICED) in Kolkata have been sent to Has tested positive since January.
“Every year, a seasonal increase of acute respiratory infections is observed during late winter and early spring. This year a surge has been reported, affecting children to a relatively higher degree. The State is well-equipped and capable to handle the situation. We have issued some instructions to districts and medical colleges and hospitals,” said Siddhartha Niyogi, director of health services in West Bengal.
At least two children – a six–month–old boy and a two-and-half-year-old girl – admitted with respiratory problems in two separate state-run child hospitals died on Sunday.
Officials are yet to confirm whether they were suffering from 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%. This is a matter of concern. We are planning to send some samples for genome sequencing,” said a senior official of ICMR–NICED in Kolkata.
Medical colleges across the state and the chief medical officers of health of all districts have been directed to check the preparedness and take stock of equipment and infrastructure including oxygen supply and pediatric ventilators.
“All medical colleges have been asked to share information on the number of children admitted with acute respiratory infections, deaths, and the number of children admitted in critical care units. A guideline on how to treat children with fever and respiratory symptoms has also been issued”
In response to the situation, state-run medical colleges have been directed to make arrangements for additional pediatric beds for cases of respiratory infections.
According to a doctor at a state-run hospital, while the virus seems to be affecting almost everyone, children below the age of two years are at greater risk due to drastic fluctuations in weather and the fact that children are now freely mixing in schools after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The state health department has issued an advisory that includes recommendations such as avoiding crowded places and wearing masks. Parents have also been urged not to send their children to school if they are sick.
Symptoms, Treatment, and Precautions
Adenovirus can cause a range of symptoms, from relatively mild symptoms like a cold or flu, fever, and sore throat, to more severe conditions like acute bronchitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, and acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach).
While mild illnesses are more common, severe illnesses can occur, particularly in people with weak immune systems or pre-existing respiratory or cardiac diseases. It is important to note that those with these conditions are at higher risk of developing severe illness from adenovirus.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the adenovirus is typically transmitted through physical contact with an infected person. It can also spread through the air via coughs and sneezes, as well as through contact with a patient’s stool, such as while changing diapers.
At present, there is no specific course of treatment or approved antiviral medication for adenovirus. Since most cases are mild, treatment primarily involves managing symptoms, such as through the use of painkillers or medications to alleviate discomfort.
Medical experts recommend that the best way to tackle adenovirus is through prevention. To avoid getting infected, it is important to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with contaminated hands. It is also advisable to wash your hands regularly with soap or sanitizers to minimize the risk of infection.