Adding further panic over the adenovirus spread in West Bengal, the deaths of three more children, admitted to two hospitals in Kolkata with related symptoms, have been reported during the last 24 hours.
Of the three fresh deaths, two have been reported from Calcutta Medical College & Hospital and one from B.C Roy Children's Hospital. Though the state Health Department has stopped issuing any bulletin on virus-related deaths, there are claims of 48 deaths during the last 11 days.
One of two children reported to have died at the Calcutta Medical College & Hospital is Sayan Pal (10 months) of a family residing in Hooghly district. He was referred to the hospital from Imambara Sadar Hospital in Chinsurah in Hooghly.
The second death in the same hospital during the last 24 hours was of Sheikh Tamim (six months). He was admitted to the hospital on February 26 with flu-like symptoms.
Samrat Barik (10 months) also passed away in B.C. Roy Children's Hospital. One of his family members told media persons that he was admitted to the hospital a week back with a severe lung infection, fever, and breathing problems.
A senior state Health Department official said that because of the tendency of referring affected children from the district hospitals, the pressure on Kolkata, especially the B.C. Roy Children's Hospital is enormous and that is why the maximum number of child deaths during the last few days have been reported from city hospitals.
The department has already issued an advisory for doctors, especially paediatricians, to take special care of children being admitted with flu-like symptoms, especially those aged two years or below since they are most vulnerable to being affected by adenovirus. In wake of the alarming situation, the Health Department has cancelled all the leaves of staff for an indefinite period.
Special outdoor units have been opened at state-run hospitals with special paediatric units so that such cases do not have to wait at the general outdoor units.
So far there is no approved medicine or any specific line of treatment for adenovirus, which can spread through skin contact, by air through coughing and sneezing, and through an infected person's stools.