An eight-month-old child suffering from pneumonia with severe sepsis has died in the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) in Siliguri. Six children suffering from other diseases, including three suffering from birth
asphyxia, also died there in the past 24 hours, sources said.
The number of children dying almost every day has triggered grave concerns in the region, even though doctors have said that around three-four babies die daily in the NBMCH during normal times too.
The eight-month-old child from Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar, had been admitted in the paediatric Ward on 22 September, it is learnt. According to NBMCH authorities, 10 infants suffering from fever and acute respiratory infections (ARI) have died there this month.
Sixteen children suffering from ARI have been admitted in the NBMCH in the past 24 hours. Altogether, 54 such children are undergoing treatment for ARI there, sources said.
NBMCH superintendent Dr Sanjay Mallik, meanwhile, said that one of the reasons for such cases being significantly low last year was that parents or adults used to follow the Covid protocol rigorously.
“The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is caused due to droplets like the novel coronavirus. The virus can survive for a few hours. Last year, we received less number of cases of children suffering from fever and respiratory distress. According to our observation, most of the people had strictly followed the Covid protocol by wearing masks, keeping themselves clean, washing hands or cleaning them with sanitisers, but many people are not following the same this time around,”
Dr Mallik said. During the initial stages of the fever outbreak a few days ago, RSV and influenza B had been detected in some samples of children admitted with fever in the Siliguri District Hospital and the Jalpaiguri District Hospital. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. The NBMCH had recorded eight pneumonia cases in children last year.
It may be recalled here that many parents did not turn up at hospitals then due to the pandemic, triggering a significant drop in the number of admissions then. Meanwhile, three children who died of birth asphyxia were only two-three days old, sources said.
Sepsis, acute liver failure, and cerebral palsy with jaundice in the brain were responsible for the deaths of those six children, apart from birth asphyxia, the sources said.