Emerging Adenovirus Crisis in West Bengal: Children at Forefront

Emerging Adenovirus Crisis in West Bengal: Children at Forefront
Image by Syaibatul Hamdi from Pixabay

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has raised concerns with the West Bengal health department regarding a particularly dangerous variant of adenovirus that has emerged in Kolkata and its neighboring districts. This alert was prompted by recent findings from the ICMR-affiliated National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED). Their sample testing revealed that out of 3,115 individuals screened for adenovirus, a significant 1,257 tested positive. Alarmingly, among these cases, 40 individuals, predominantly children, were identified to have the deadly variant of the virus.

Between the months of December 2022 and March 2023, West Bengal witnessed a surge in adenovirus cases. Official records from the state health department indicate that during this period, there were 1,200 confirmed cases of adenovirus, with a majority affecting children. Even more distressing, these cases resulted in 19 fatalities. However, the reported death toll faced scrutiny and controversy. Various doctors’ associations questioned the accuracy of the figures, accusing the state health department of underreporting the actual numbers.

In response to the growing concerns and to ensure effective management of the situation, the state government took proactive measures. They established an eight-member task force dedicated to monitoring the spread of the adenovirus and ensuring that affected individuals receive appropriate medical care and treatment. This move aimed to address the criticisms and uphold transparency in reporting and managing the health crisis.

In summary, West Bengal is grappling with a concerning outbreak of a deadly adenovirus variant. While the exact extent and impact of the outbreak are still under scrutiny, the state government, along with health authorities, is taking steps to manage and mitigate its effects, ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents, especially children.

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