Kolkata, March 10 (IANS) West Bengal accounts for 38 per cent of the swab samples that have been tested adenovirus-positive throughout the country, according to a recent survey conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED).
NICED sources said that in the survey, which was conducted on the 1,708 samples in the different viral research diagnostic laboratories throughout the country from January 1 to March 9, 650 samples were tested adenovirus-positive.
As per the finding, West Bengal accounts for 38 per cent of the 650 samples that have been tested positive, the highest among all Indian states. Tamil Nadu comes in the distant second position with 19 per cent, Kerala at 13 per cent, Delhi at 11 per cent and Maharashtra at five per cent are in the third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.
Four days ago, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that 19 deaths had been reported, out of which six are confirmed adenovirus cases, while the remaining 12 were cases of co-morbidity.
Contrary to her statement, sources from hospitals said that the death figure was much higher. As per unofficial estimates, the child deaths resulting out of the related symptoms during the last 12 days has touched 48 including three fresh fatal cases during the last 24 hours.
The chief minister also claimed that some people had been deliberately creating a panic over the virus. “The people panicked and this panic opened the avenues for some private hospitals to flourish their businesses,” the chief minister said.
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.
State health 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.