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Jovan Thomas, Pune

Adenovirus has recently been reported of having a major spike in West Bengal, so health authorities in Kolkata have been warned and instructed to be more vigilant about flu-like symptoms in children. The state health administration has not yet calculated the precise number of deaths of children infected by Adenovirus, despite reports claiming that 11 children in West Bengal have perished this winter due to complications relating to fever, colds, and respiratory ailments.

The chief medical officers of health for each district and the medical schools around the state have been instructed to assess the readiness to face the situation and keep the facilities in check. The provision of additional pediatric beds for cases of respiratory illness has been requested from state-run medical colleges.

The sharp spike in the virus led to a fast filling up of the beds in pediatric care units in both private and state-run hospitals. The National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (ICMR-NICED) in Kolkata has received samples since January, and according to officials, at least 32% of those samples have tested positive.

The state health department has issued a warning which includes staying away from crowded areas and wearing masks. Parents are asked not to send them to school if they show signs of sickness.

Even for children who had previously been healthy, adenovirus can be a “severe, life-threatening” illness, according to the US National Library of Medicine. Adenoviruses are often spread from one person to another by coughing and sneezing into the air or by touching or shaking hands in close proximity.

Adenoviruses can also be transmitted by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes after coming into contact with an infected object or surface. When changing a baby’s diaper, for instance, certain adenoviruses can be passed from one person to another through their stool. The virus can also spread through water, such as swimming pools, although this is less common.

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