IANS

Adenovirus menace seems to be taking an alarming shape in West Bengal with the death of 36 children in the last nine days as per the records of the state health department.

The latest two deaths were reported on early Sunday morning from the BC Roy Children's Hospital in Kolkata. The two victims have been identified as Atifa Khatun (18 months) and Aarman Gazi (4 years).

It is learnt that Khatun, hailing from a family residing under the Nadial police station in Metiabruz area was admitted to the said hospital on February 26 with typical Adenovirus symptoms like fever, cough and breathing problems. Despite treatment she did not show any signs of recovery and on early Sunday morning she died.

Similarly, the state health department sources said that Aarman Gazi, hailing from a family under Minakhan police station in Basirhat sub-division in North 24 Parganas district, got admitted to the same hospital last week with similar symptoms. He too died early Sunday at around 5 a.m.

Already, the state health department has issued an advisory for doctors, especially paediatricians to take special care of children being admitted with flu-like symptoms, especially children of two-years of age or below since they are most vulnerable to being affected by Adenovirus.

"The problem is that all the beds in the paediatric child-care units in the state are occupied. Similar rush of admission has been reported in the paediatric child care units of private hospitals. Cases of children with Adenovirus symptoms from district hospitals are also increasing," a state health department official said on condition of anonymity.

The common symptoms of Adenovirus are flu-like, cold, fever, breathing problems, sore throat, pneumonia and acute bronchitis. The children of two-years of age and below are most vulnerable to being affected by the virus.

The virus can spread through skin contacts, by air through coughing and sneezing and through an infected person's stool. So far, there have not been any approved medicines or any specific treatment-line to treat the virus.

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