The special task force constituted by the West Bengal government to tackle the rising cases of acute respiratory infections (ARIs), including those related to the H3N2 subtype and the adenovirus, has outlined a seven-point guideline to tackle such infections.
In the guidelines, it has been said that doctors in private hospitals will be given special training on treatment of ARIs. Also, the health workers will be given special training to identify the ARI-affected children during door-to-door survey, so that early identification can be done and timely treatment can be started.
As per the official records, so far, since January 1, 10,999 children affected with ARIs have been admitted to different hospitals in the state. However, there is no official figure on number of confirmed H3N2 and adenovirus cases among them.
Unofficial sources, citing different laboratory test reports, claim that the percentage of cases of Influenza A virus caused by H3N2 subtype in Kolkata ranges from 40 per cent to 70 per cent of the total ARI-linked cases.
According to city-based Physician Dr Uditpa Roy, children below two years and senior citizens with comorbidities suffer prolonged illness like severe cough and cold. "However, H3N2 subtype is not as fatal as H1N1."
According to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and also the latest statement by the state government, the total number of child deaths so far had been 19, out of which 13 had comorbidities.
However, unofficial figures suggest that the number of deaths since January 1 to till Monday due to related syndrome is as much as 147.
Recently, a survey by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) has revealed that 38 per cent of the swab samples that have been tested adenovirus-positive throughout the country since from January 1 to March 9 have been reported from West Bengal making it the highest among all states on this count.
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