Children dying from an unknown or mystery fever in north Bengal districts might have some comorbidities, the chief minister Mamata Banerjee said today after holding a meeting with N S Nigam, health secretary and other officials at SSKM Hospital.
She said, “We have verified the reasons for the deaths of several children. Apart from the unknown fever, the deceased children might have several other comorbidities.” According to unofficial sources, eight children have died at Jalpaiguri District Hospital (JDH) in the past few days while three others died at Malda Medical College Hospital (MMCH) today.
Considering the spurt in a number of children affected by the unknown fever with respiratory trouble in different districts mainly in north Bengal particularly ahead of the third wave, health department has decided to increase the number of beds in paediatric wards in government hospitals.
More than 700 cases of unknown fever among children have been reported so far in the state. Nigam said that arrangements have been made to accommodate affected children and toddlers in paediatric units separated from wards for treatment of normal child patients.
A 10-member committee comprising experts in paediatric medicine, chest medicine, virology etc have been formed to prepare a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the treatment protocol of children and newborns down with the unknown fever. Swab samples of several affected children were tested at the School of Tropical Medicine (STM) laboratory on Wednesday.
The test report revealed that the patients were suffering from respiratory syncytial (R S ) virus and influenza B virus –common during monsoon. Doctors have advised to take children with symptoms of fever for more than five days, cough and cold, breathing trouble, loss of appetite and low urine quantity to hospitals or local clinics for immediate medical consultancy.
Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari today wrote to Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya to take the stock of situation on the undetected flu-like illnesses among children in Bengal and sending appropriate guidelines to state health department.
Adhikari alleged that chief minister Mamata Banerjee, also health minister, has scarce time due to her bypoll campaign to look into the issue. “Around 750 children are suffering from this unknown flu-like syndrome across the state. Amid fear of Covid-19 third waves, this disease is a huge area of concern. I urged Union health minister to send a central team as the state administration is entirely busy with Bhowanipore by-election,” he said.
Adhikari also sent another letter saying that a proposed private medical college, going to be set up at Birbhum, awaiting sanctioned by the Centre must be stopped as Rs 100 cr to be spent to set up the medical college is unaccounted.
“This is a TMC leader’s medical college and the entire money sources are illegal sand and coal minings,” he said.