A viral fever that is suspected to be dengue has killed around 40 people, including 32 children, over the past week in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the government hospital in the town on Monday to review the progress of treatment, and measures taken to prevent dengue.
“There have been nearly 40 deaths in Firozabad in the last one week. Primary cause appears to be dengue, though other causes are being ascertained as well,”. Agra Divisional Commissioner Amit Gupta said.
“We have ramped up measures to provide platelets to the concerned hospitals, and they are being brought from Agra as well. Inspections are being carried out by official teams.”
Gupta said that a viral fever has been reported as a symptom in most of these cases.
The commissioner said that some deaths had been reported from Mathura — which is part of Agra division — as well. These deaths were, however, attributed to scrub typhus, which, like dengue, is a vector borne disease, but which is caused by bacteria, not virus.
Officials said there weren’t many cases yet of viral illness in Agra itself or in Mainpuri, but the medical department had been asked to remain vigilant.
Both government officials and local people in Firozabad — a town located about 35 km from Agra, and which is known for its glassmaking industry — said the first cases of fever were seen after Rakhi last week.
“Suspected dengue cases have been reported in about eight or nine colonies [in the town],” Adityanath said. “When the medical department came to know [of the outbreak], they informed higher authorities. A separate ward was set up at the medical college.”
The Chief Minister said he had reviewed the situation personally, and had asked for a report on the causes of the outbreak. “If any negligence is found, responsibility will be fixed,” he said.
Adityanath told reporters that 32 children and seven adults had died during treatment, both at homes and in hospitals. Two of the children had been brought dead to the government hospital, he said.
The Chief Minister has directed authorities to thoroughly examine all cases of viral fever, and to send the patients’ blood samples to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow for examination.
At the paediatrics section of Firozabad Medical College on Tuesday evening, the rush of patients was more than normal. Several parents huddling in covered spaces waiting for the rain to stop were clutching medical reports wrapped in polythene packets, besides water bottles and tiffin boxes.
As of Tuesday evening, 210 children were admitted to the 300-bed facility. Residents and doctors from Kannauj, Etawah, and Agra have been assigned duties at the medical college, which was set up only two years ago.
“In children, the symptoms begin with fever, diarrhoea, and vomiting, Dr Sangeeta Aneja, Dean, Autonomous State Medical College, Firozabad, said.
“On Tuesday, we had 23 positive cases of dengue in the hospital. We are monitoring the children round the clock, and setting up blood banks to ensure optimal distribution of blood platelets. There is also a high discharge rate. The next few days will be closely observed,” she said.
According to Dr Aneja, one of the minors who died at the hospital had asthma; the platelet count of another had fallen dangerously; and a third child had died of aspiration following vomiting.
The children were being tested for Covid too, and so far no patient had been found positive, officials said.
Local people said they had not seen such a severe outbreak of dengue ever in this region.
“For the last two-three days, my son had a fever, and it was not coming down. He was admitted [to hospital] on Tuesday. His platelet count has gone down and we are looking for the matching donation.” Jayanti Prasad, father of the four-and-a-half-year-old patient said.
“There is a huge rush… Many children in our village have fallen ill; we have never seen this before. It is a very scary time,” he said.