Kolkata: After the puja season when COVID is slowly surging back to the state, more than 1,200 children were admitted to the Burdwan Medical College in West Bengal in the last one month with acute respiratory problems, and nine of them have died, officials said on Sunday (October 24).
Though the doctors claimed that the fever and cough leading to breathing problems are a result of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and has nothing to do with COVID, the huge number of affected children has become a cause of worry for the district health administration.
“In the last one month, more than 1200 children have been admitted with high fever, cough, cold, and acute respiratory problems and we couldn`t save nine of them. They were below six months old and were physically weak. We have tested all the children and all of them have been detected COVID negative,” the Medical College`s Head of the Paediatric Department, Kaustav Nayek said.
According to Nayek, all the children who are getting affected are below one year old and the children who are below six months are the most vulnerable to the disease.
“Every time at this time of the year, the children get affected because of season change, but it doesn`t stay for more than two weeks… this year it is taking little longer because of the continuous rain. We are taking measures to control the disease,” he added.
According to the doctors, the patient affected by RSV will have a cough and cold in the first two days and then they will develop breathing problems, and, in some cases, it turns out to be serious.
“We have created two additional wards with more than 200 beds to handle this situation. We need oxygen and nebulisers for the treatment and that we have told the Principal. We hope the situation will be under control in the next couple of weeks,” Nayek said.
The state Health Department is keeping a close watch on the development of the situation and has asked the hospital authorities to send daily updates on the infection rate, the treatment protocol, and condition of the children.
“If the child is more than one year then there is nothing to worry about but the children who are below six months are the most vulnerable in this disease and so we have asked that a neo-natal ward be opened so that these cases can be treated separately and with care,” a Health Department official said.