Uttar Pradesh reporting cases of ‘mysterious viral disease’, death toll hits 68 in a week

Over the past week, parts of western Uttar Pradesh have been hit by a mysterious dengue-like viral fever, with 32 children and 7 adults succumbing to it in the Firozabad district.

Over the past week, Uttar Pradesh has been reporting cases of a ‘mysterious’ viral fever that has claimed over 68 lives, including 40 children. The ‘intense’ disease has taken over parts of western UP – Agra, Etah, Mathura, with Firozabad being the worst affected where at least 32 children and 7 adults have succumbed to the disease. The infection was detected as ‘scrub typhus‘.

 Assam has also detected the virus due to which a COVID-19 hospital at Sarusajai in Guwahati was been ordered to close down temporarily by the Assam Health Department for 15 days after recording a total number of 29 cases. 

Most of them reported high fever, dehydration, and a sudden drop in platelet count. Others had dengue symptoms and passed away during treatment. Now, with recovery time stretching to over 10 days, government hospitals are grappling for beds, and blood banks are stretched.

At Firozabad Medical College, the situation is concerning where 72 children out of 135 are battling for life. Over 50% of them have dengue symptoms. 12 children have died due to the disease in the last 24 hours itself.

Vinod Kumar, an inconsolable father and resident of Firozabad’s Sekhpur village, said, “My four-year-old daughter was suffering high viral fever for four days. We had admitted her to a private hospital as no vacant bed was available elsewhere. After low platelets and high fever, she died on Saturday.”

The high death count comes despite a gap in logging of data since the deaths in private hospitals and those in rural areas at home are not being reported. Many patients are being shifted to Agra and neighboring cities due to a lack of “A separate ward has been created for this suspicious fever in the district and the dedicated Covid-19 ward has been reserved as separate ward.” CM Yogi Adityanath said.

Locals have blamed waterlogging, poor sanitation and hygiene for the disease spread. They accused the health department and municipal body of overlooking issues pertaining to sanitation, and alleged that several drains were overflowing in the district.

Notably, Chief Medical Officer of Firozabad Dr. Neeta Kulshresta has said that all the patients at government hospitals have been tested for Covid-19 and so far none of the viral infection cases can be linked. However, in certain cases, the patients did have co-moribidities.

Earlier, many had believed that the deaths being reported were due to dengue. BJP’s Firozabad MLA Manish Asija had claimed that over 40 children died due to dengue in the district over the past week and blamed the state health department and the local civic body for the “tragedy”.

Congress also expressed concern over the deaths. “The state government should take immediate measures to upgrade health services so that such diseases may be checked,” party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted. State health minister Jai Pratap Singh, however, later clarified, “The news is wrong. There is no such report about dengue deaths.”

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