The West Bengal Government in a press statement on Thursday said that admissions in hospitals of children with acute respiratory infections (ARI) in the State have come down from about 800 per day a week ago to 600 per day now.
“So far 13,061 acute respiratory infection cases in children have been admitted in the last two and half months. Till date only 19 deaths have been reported due to adenovirus infections,” the press statement by the State government said.
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Meanwhile, the high-level task force set up by the State government to supervise the work related to the control of adenovirus and treatment of affected persons held its second meeting on Wednesday and decided that IEC (Information Education Communication) materials will be circulated for parents through social media and government portals. “Advisory on home care of sick children would be re-circulated. Monitoring of referral from peripheral hospitals to higher centres would be intensified,” the government notification said.
The number of ARI cases in children on March 13 was 12,343. The task force led by the State’s Chief Secretary in its first meeting stated that community-level monitoring and enabling awareness was being carried out by ASHA workers.
The government notification added: “Sensitization of Anganwadi Workers has been taken up. Advisory in Bengali has been prepared on primary screening of the young children and awareness of families for early identification of the respiratory infection.”
The State government has claimed that most of the children who died of adenovirus infections had comorbidities.
The government said: “Till date on only 19 deaths have been reported due to adenovirus infections and out of these, 13 cases were having serious comorbidities ie low birth weight- 3, preexisting lung disease- 2, congenital heart disease- 3 , congenital metabolic disease- 2, muscular dystrophy -2, other serious infection- 1.”
Unofficial reports suggest that more than 100 children have died of adenovirus infection in West Bengal this season. According to experts, a recombinant strain of human adenovirus type 3 (HAdV-3) and type 7 (HAdV-7) is causing the majority of infections this season.