Several districts of western Uttar Pradesh are on alert after multiple deaths, including that of children, due to an unexplained 'viral fever'. The aggressive form of fever has swept the region claiming 68 lives, including 40 children in past month, according to reports quoting health officials.

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 Twelve children succumbed to the fever in Firozabad in the past 24 hours, the Times of India reported quoting health officials on Sunday. The health department has urged people to be cautious against vector-borne diseases like malaria and consult a qualified doctor in case of any problem instead of self-help.

Reported symptoms  

The deadly disease is characterized by high fever, dehydration and a sudden  drop in platelet count. While some reports suggested that the fever was due to dengue, there was no oficial

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Worst-hit areas

The cases have been reported mainly from Agra, Mathura, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Etah and Kasganj. Firozabad is said to be the worst-affected with more than 130 children are admitted in hospitals, many of them critical.

“The situation in the districts is alarming," Firozabad MLA Asija was quoted by Times of India as saying. Asija claimed that over 40 children have succumbed to dengue in the district over the past week and blamed the state health department and the local civic body for the 'tragedy'.

Dengue, or not?

"More than 40 children have died in Firozabad due to dengue since August 22-23. This morning, I received the sad news of (the death of) six children," Asija told PTI.

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However, Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh termed Asija's claims "wrong" and said no such reports have been received.

Chief Medical Superintendent of Firozabad medical college Dr Hansraj Singh said that the intensity of fever was worrying. Children are taking two weeks to recover, he added.

Noida on alert

The authorities in Gautam Budh Nagar district have now been alerted with the health department urging people to be cautious against vector-borne diseases like malaria and consult a qualified doctor in case of any problem instead of self-help.

“In view of the season of vector-borne diseases and deaths in Mathura district due to the fever, an alert has been raised in Gautam Budh Nagar district,” Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Sunil Sharma said.