Three more children died at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) in Siliguri in the past 24 hours, sources said today. Two of the children died in the pediatric intensive care unit, it is learnt.
NBMCH sources said a one-month-25-day-old child from Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri, who was referred to the NBMCH as he was suffering from fever, cough and cold, was one of the deaths. An eight-month-old baby girl from Fulbari in Siliguri died due to “septic shock with disseminated intravascular coagulation,” the sources said.
An 11-year-old child of Pradhannagar in Siliguri also died there, it is learnt. However, NBMCH authorities did not corroborate the information. Earlier, three children suffering from fever and respiratory infection had died there in the past four days-a three-month-old baby girl, who had been referred from the Kharibari hospital died on 22 September, while a four-month-old girl of Pradhannagar died on 23 September.
A one-month and 13 days old baby boy of Haldibari in Jalpaiguri died on the same day. Apart from direct fever-related cases, a nine-month-old baby from Jalpaiguri had died in the neonatal intensive care unit of the NBMCH on 14 September. Paediatricians had said that the baby, who had been admitted on 11 September, was suffering from multiple diseases like congenital heart disease.
Meanwhile, the rise in the number of children getting infected by Covid-19 in north Bengal has now come up as a matter of grave concern. Amid hundreds of children falling ill with fever and respiratory problems in a recent outbreak, some infants have tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus too.
Health department officials have, however, tried to allay fears that Covid-19 had nothing to do with the recent viral fever outbreak. Paediatricians have, on the other hand, stressed on Covid-19 tests for children showing symptoms of fever, cough and cold and throat pain. They have said utmost care must be taken in children with pre-existing comorbidities.
At least two children have been tested positive for Covid19 in the Jalpaiguri District Hospital, three in the Kurseong Sub Divisional Hospital in the Hills, while another child from Sonada in the Hills has also tested positive for the coronavirus in rapid antigen tests.
Another Covid-19 case has been detected in a child in the Malda Medical College and Hospital. Doctors have said that the age group of those children was under five. Sources at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH), where most of the children received treatment, said today that repeat Covid tests confirmed that the three Kurseong children as
Sources said that paediatricians treating children in private facilities have also found some Covid cases among them. “Children showing symptoms should undergo Covid tests. This will help curb the spread of infection,” the president of the Siliguri branch of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) and noted paediatrician, Dr Subir Bhowmik, said.
IAP, the sole representative professional body of paediatricians in India, with more than 20300 members from across the states of the country, has said that any fresh surge in the pandemic was highly unlikely to predominantly affect children. It believes that the fears circulating about the possible third wave affecting children have no basis.
However, the prevailing situation in north Bengal has triggered concerns, especially among parents of children. “The rising fever cases, including some deaths, have left many parents like us worried. In between, some children have been infected by Covid-19 . We do not know about the virulence and severity of the projected third wave of Covid-19 hits,” said a mother of a two-year-old, Sucheta Roy Chowdhury.
The officer on special duty for public health in north Bengal, Dr Susanta Kumar Roy, on the other hand, has sought to allay such fears. “We are alert and are looking into all the aspects. There is no cause of concern. Some children have been infected with Covid-19, but in most of those cases it has been found that the disease was transmitted to them from the mothers,” Dr Roy said.
The dean of student affairs at the NBMCH, Dr Sandip Sengupta, too said children are generally infected by the disease from adults. He said adults should properly follow the Covid appropriate behaviour.
“Children cannot step out of their own homes. Therefore, the parents should be more responsible and clean and sanitise themselves before coming into contact with the children,” he said.