No sample was found COVID-19 positive, but most of the patients had influenza B and respiratory syncytial virus.
Hundreds of children across several districts of north Bengal have been hospitalised with symptoms of viral infection. Reports that at least six children have died in the past few days — three in Jalpaiguri, two in Malda and one in Uttar Dinjapur — have spread fear and panic in the State.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a meeting on September 16 at the SSKM Hospital on the emerging health situation. State’s Health Secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam said there was no reason to panic and most of the children were infected by Influenza B and RS (Respiratory Syncytial) Virus. He said that along with fever the children were suffering from other ailments too. The State had adequate infrastructure to deal with the situation, he said.
A team of experts has reached north Bengal and the State government is preparing a standard operating procedure for treating children with fever. Hundreds of children have been admitted in various State-run hospitals in north Bengal — 112 in Cooch Behar, 113 in Alipurduar, 92 in Jalpaiguri, 86 in Darjeeling, 196 in Malda, 92 in Dakshin Dinajpur and 64 in Uttar Dinajpur.
Samples of children with fever were sent to School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata, where they tested positive for influenza B and RS (respiratory syncytial) virus. While no sample was found to be positive for COVID-19, some children were found to be suffering from dengue.
Reports of children falling ill have also been reported from Purulia and Durgapur.
Meanwhile, the State leadership of Bharatiya Janata Party highlighted the issue and wanted answers from the Chief Minister who holds the Health Portfolio.
“I urge WB Health Secretary to kindly take note of the distressing news coming from North Bengal, where more than 750 children have been admitted in hospitals for high fever & undetected flu-like symptoms. Please initiate measures at the earliest as 6 infants have died already,” Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said.
Mr. Adhikari wrote to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya urging him to send a Central team to West Bengal. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said that in such a worrying situation, the Chief Minister and her entire Cabinet appeared to be busy with poll campaign.
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