Kolkata, Sept 16 (PTI) The West Bengal government on Thursday assured the people of the state that there was no reason to worry over the spurt in cases of fever and dysentery among children in Jalpaiguri district and its neighbourhood as the cause of the disease has been ascertained and the administration is working out ways to deal with it.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, during the day, held a high-profile meeting with senior officials and doctors of five medical colleges and hospitals here, following which health secretary NS Nigam told reporters that the "situation is under control".
"There is nothing to worry about these cases of i. The virus, 'Respiratory Syncytial’, is found to have caused the fever among children,” Nigam stated.
The official further said that the three children who died in Jalpaiguri after contracting the fever had other ailments which led to their demise.
The state health department will soon release a standard operating procedure in connection with the treatment of children who have fallen sick due to the virus, he said.
Later, state deputy health secretary Dr Ajay Chakraborty said that only one out of all the children admitted to hospitals with fever tested positive for COVID-19.
He also said such respiratory ailments are nothing uncommon among them at this time of the year.
"The number of cases this time isn't as much as it was in the previous years. In Jalpaiguri District Hospital, a total of 1,195 children have been admitted between September 1 and 15.
"Two of them died -- one due to congenital heart disease and pneumonia and the other had birth asphyxia," he explained.
Drawing a parallel, Chakraborty said on an average 2,000 such admissions are usually recorded around this time of the year.
In 2017, six deaths due to various infections, including the one induced by RSV, were recorded and the year after, four fatalities were registered, he maintained.
Last year, overall admissions in hospitals had showed a decline owing to the COVID-19 situation, the deputy health secretary underlined.
The health department recently constituted a committee of experts to find out the cause of the fever among hundreds of children, mostly in Jalpaiguri and its adjoining areas.
A senior paediatrician at SSKM hospital, who attended Thursday's meeting with the CM, told PTI that the virus isn't a new one and it has, in the past too, affected young ones.
Over 1,400 children in Jalpaiguri and neighbouring districts were hospitalised since the beginning of September with high fever and dysentery.