The blood samples taken from some of the children suffering from ‘mysterious febrile illnesses’ in some parts of North Bengal were found to be infected with ‘Influenza B’, ‘Respiratory Syncytial’ and ‘Human Parainfluenza’ viruses.
Speaking to the News18.com, Dr Susanta Kumar Roy, senior medical officer (Ophthalmology) and Officer on Special Duty (Public Health) in North Bengal, said, “The blood samples were sent for examination to School of Tropical Medicine and in the report presence ‘Influenza B’, ‘Respiratory Syncytial’ and ‘Human Parainfluenza’ viruses were found.”
He further said, “There are some people who are unnecessarily creating panic. The fact is, in Jalpaiguri, the number of paediatric patients is less when we compare it from July-September, 2017 to July-September, 2019.”
When asked about last year’s figure, he said, “In July-September, 2020 – the figure was 640 because most of the people preferred to stay indoors and took utmost precautions due to COVID-19. Now with less number of COVID-19 cases, people are venturing out and this may be the reason people are getting infected with seasonal viral infections which I mentioned is slightly higher (1195) from July to September 14, 2021. But if we look at the figure from 2017 (except last year’s statistics), the number of viral infections among the children has gone down.”
As per the official figure (as of September 15) total paediatric cases in entire North Bengal (a copy of the report with News18) is 760 (cumulative figure) and total of 258 discharges in the last 24-hours.
In Alipurduar, the total paediatric patients presently admitted are 112, which includes 36 admissions in the last 24 hours and the total number of discharges was 42. In Coochbehar, total paediatric patients are 113, which include 46 admissions in the last 24 hours, number of discharges 54 and one critical case.
In Jalpaiguri, total paediatric patients are 92, which includes 31 admissions in the last 24 hours and total number discharge was 26. In Kalimpong, total paediatric patients are 5, which include 2 admissions in the last 24 hours. Total number of children discharged was five.
In South Dinajpur, total paediatric patients are 92, which include 32 admissions in the last 24 hours, number of discharge 43 and three critical cases. In North Dinajpur, total paediatric patients are 64, which include 37 admissions in the last 24 hours, number of discharge 53. There are ten critical cases and one child death reported.
In Malda, total paediatric patients are 196, which include 65 admissions in the last 24 hours, number of discharge 16. There are 15 critical cases and two child deaths reported.
In Darjeeling, total paediatric patients are 86, which includes 38 admissions in the last 24 hours, number of discharge 19. There are three critical cases.
Most of the cases reported from Malda (including 15 critical) followed by Coochbehar and Alipurduar.
Regarding death of three children, it was learnt that a six-year-old girl child (a resident of Mekhliganj) was admitted on September 13 at 3 PM at Jalpaiguri District Hospital and she passed away on September 14, around 5.45 AM with Pneumonia with Pleural Effusion (congestive heart failure) with CHD. She was referred from Mekhliganj Sadar Hospital, Coochbehar.
Another death was reported on September 15 at around 2 PM and as per medical report it was a premature baby boy and at time of admission the baby was suffering from ‘severe asphyxia, HIE Stage-3’ (oxygen deprivation, which caused brain damage, disability, and death.
In the third death case, a three months old baby boy (from Maynaguri) was brought dead on September 15 at around 7.50 AM. He was suffering from Lower Respiratory Tract Infection (LRTI) with Pneumonia.
Speaking to News18, State Health Secretary, Narayan Swaroop Nigam, said, “All infrastructure is in place. We have increased the bed capacity. Fever among children has been reported in Jalpaiguri and in Siliguri. Our medical teams consisting of senior doctors are there in North Bengal to attend the matter. “
Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Nandigram and Leader of the Opposition (LoP), Suvendu Adhikari wrote a letter to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and requested him to send a central team of health experts, immediately to West Bengal, to assist and aid the West Bengal Health Department to save ailing children.
TMC, MLA, Dr Nirmal Majhi hit out at Suvendu Adhikari and said, “He is politicising the matter keeping the Bhabaipur by-poll in mind. This is unfortunate. The situation is under control and we have put all resources in North Bengal for child health care. The number of cases has gone down. I would like to request BJP leaders not to play politics over children’s health. I am in regular touch with the health staff there and if required I will personally visit there.”