Expert panel to detect cause of fever surge among kids

Kolkata/Darjeeling: The state Health department has constituted an expert committee of doctors from various streams to find out possible reasons behind the sudden surge in fever among children from both North and South Bengal. The expert committee will take a call regarding the mode of treatment of these children, who are affected with fever caused possibly due to viral infection. Some children from North Bengal have tested positive for dengue and scrub typhus.

The expert committee has a representation of doctors from various disciplines, including medicine, child specialist, microbiologists and virologists. It will carry out a detailed investigation into the incident by collecting data from various hospitals, where these children have been undergoing treatment with fever. The members include Dr Soumitra Ghosh, Dr Mihir Sarkar, Dr Bhaswati Banerjee, Dr Bibhuti Saha and Dr Mousumi Nandi.

"The expert group met on Wednesday at Swasthya Bhawan and discussed the recent episode of fever and respiratory tract infection cases among children. We have discussed the diagnostic and treatment protocols. We have also discussed the protocol for intensive care units and oxygen therapy. Dr Bibhuti Saha had earlier reminded us that we should investigate and exclude malaria, dengue, Covid, scrub typhus etc, because not all patients are similar and not all are viral or influenza," Dr Ajay Chakraborty said.

Jalpaiguri Medical College had earlier formed a five-member committee to probe the incident as more than 100 children had been affected in North Bengal. The platelets are falling down rapidly among many patients but they have tested negative for dengue and Covid.

Amid rising concern of children being affected by fever, breathing problems and diarrhoea, some have tested positive for dengue and scrub typhus as well in North Bengal. A three-month-old died in Jalpaiguri, making it the second child death incident.

Cases of children suffering from high fever leading to admission in hospitals have increased in North Bengal over the past few days. There are 26 children admitted with such symptoms to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital at present. "We have tested 64 samples, out of which five cases of dengue and six cases of scrub typhus have been identified," stated Dr Indrajit Saha, principal, NBMCH. Out of 49, one tested positive for dengue in Jalpaiguri. A three-month-old child was brought dead on Wednesday in Jalpaiguri. "The child was suffering from high fever and breathing difficulties but he had not been infected with Covid," an official said.

Many children are also undergoing treatment at Dr BC Roy Post Graduate Institute of Pediatric Sciences in the city and a private hospital in Park Circus. According to sources, it was learnt that a majority of the patients had been admitted with viral pneumonia and influenza virus. Some have, however, been affected with dengue and malaria. Some children are stated to be critical and have been admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the private hospital. Most of the children, who are admitted to various hospitals belong to the age group of 3 months to 10 years.

A senior official of Dr BC Roy Post Graduate Institute of Pediatric Sciences said some children were admitted with typhoid, some with dengue, while others were suffering from Covid. "Children are often affected with dengue and typhoid during this season. There is nothing to worry about. The hospital has already submitted a report to the Health department in this regard," the official added.

A senior doctor from the private hospital in Park Circus said some younger patients are also critical. Almost every year, some children are affected with influenza which is nothing new. But this year, the number has slightly gone up. Such incidents can be reduced if vaccinations are properly done among children, said the doctor.

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