Social Navigation

Adenovirus deaths rise in West Bengal; see symptoms, transmission and other details here


Adenovirus is of great concern in the state of West Bengal. Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee had said on Monday that 19 people have died so far due to the adenovirus, including six children, who have lost their lives after being infected with the adenovirus. She also urged people to start using face masks again to counter the threat.

Amid the rising number of child deaths, the state health department has also withdrawn furlough arrangements from all its staff, an official told PTI. The department also said in a notification: “All must be present at their stations given the current situation in the state. Fever clinics must remain operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

However, according to the IANS report, 48 deaths have been reported in just 11 days. While general secretary of the Association of Health Service Doctors, Dr Manas Gumta has claimed that the government of West Bengal has “underreported” the number of deaths due to infection from the virus.

The doctor also expressed concern and said that the situation has now become serious. “All the children are not getting beds in the hospital. CCU is not available to them, the overall situation has become serious now,” he told ANI news agency. He further claimed that the reports of deaths we now have (not from the government) have already seen more than 100 children die. This means that the situation has now become tense.”

He said that of 6-7 pediatric deaths, 30 percent showed adenovirus symptoms.

Dr. Gumta denounced the Bangladeshi government and also said that the West Bengal government’s preparations to deal with the spread of the adenovirus are inadequate and that it has not learned a lesson from Covid.

“After Covid, adenovirus has come and the government has still not informed us of the preparations that lead to children getting infected and dozens of deaths,” he added.

The BJP in Bengal staged a protest in the state assembly accusing the state government of not doing enough to curb the spread of the adenovirus, which left several children dead. Speaking to reporters, opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari said: “We wanted a discussion in the House about adenovirus. It was not allowed, so we had to resort to protests. The state tried to provide facts and figures on the number of cases and deaths.”

Adenovirus transmission

Even for children who were previously healthy, the adenovirus can be a “serious, life-threatening” condition, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Adenoviruses can be passed from one person to another by touching or shaking hands, or by coughing and sneezing into the air.

It can also be spread by contacting an infected object or surface and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

Certain adenoviruses can be transmitted through a person’s stool, such as when changing a baby’s diaper. Although less common, adenovirus can also spread through water, such as swimming pools.

Adenovirus Symptoms

According to CDC, adenoviruses can cause mild to severe illness, although serious illness is less common. People with weakened immune systems or existing respiratory or heart disease are at greater risk of developing serious illness from an adenovirus infection. Other symptoms include: cold or flu-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, acute bronchitis (inflammation of the airways of the lungs, sometimes called a chest cold), pink eye (conjunctivitis), inflammation of the stomach or intestines that causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain.

Bladder infection or infection and neurological disorders (disorders affecting the brain and spinal cord) are also some of the less common symptoms.

Prevention of adenoviruses

To stop the spread of the adenovirus, Dr Manas Gumta has advised that covid appropriate behavior would be helpful in stopping its spread. “The same precautions we took during Covid, such as wearing face masks, washing hands regularly with soap, avoiding crowded places, etc., are also necessary to prevent Adenovirus,” he said.

adenovirus treatment

According to the US CDC, there are no approved antiviral drugs and no specific treatment for people with an adenovirus infection. Most adenovirus infections are mild and can be treated with rest and over-the-counter pain relievers or fever reducers to relieve symptoms.

(With input from agencies)

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.