Indian State Orders Probe as Spreading 'Mystery Fever' Kills 53, Including Children
© REUTERS / ADNAN ABIDIPeople wait to receive a dose of COVISHIELD, a vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) manufactured by Serum Institute of India, at a hospital in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, August 30, 2021
© REUTERS / ADNAN ABIDI
For over 10 days, cases of a mysterious deadly fever have been reported in some districts in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. According to local media reports, 53 people have died, including 45 children, so far.
At a time when the Indian health authorities are equipping themselves to handle the third wave of COVID-19, predicted to be deadly even for children, several cases of a "mystery fever" have been reported in Uttar Pradesh state, local media reported on Wednesday.
Many of them complained of joint pains, headaches, dehydration, and nausea.
According to local media reports, 53 people have died, including 45 children. As of Thursday, 186 people (mostly children) had been admitted to the hospital, with many suffering from a high fever.
Uttar Pradesh state chief Yogi Adityanath visited the hospital on Tuesday at the Firozabad District hospital and has now set up an inquiry to look into the deaths and reasons behind the spread of this mysterious illness.
He visited the children admitted at the Firozabad Medical College and the homes of some of those who died.
The state chief warned against any negligent handling of the cases, and directed officials to ensure that additional ambulances are in place for patients in rural areas.
Many cases are being reported from the Agra, Mathura, Mainpuri, Etah, and Kasganj districts, while Firozabad is said to be the most affected district in the state.
Dr Kafeel Khan, a paediatrician who has worked in the Uttar Pradesh government hospital, has said that there is no such disease as a "mysterious fever", and after proper treatment, the real cause behind it can be diagnosed.
In an interview with biweekly magazine The Week, he said: "Viral infections usually spread at the start of winter and cause influenza. This virus, which is acting up in eastern and western Uttar Pradesh, is different. COVID-19, dengue and malaria together are causing complications".
"Malaria and dengue are easy to diagnose, and thus there seems to be no reason for doctors to label it a 'mysterious fever'. Or is it that the standard tests are not yielding results?" Dr Khan was quoted as saying.
The media report also suggested that the mysterious fever is nothing but dengue and malaria cases — both are a mosquito-borne viral infection, which usually emerges this time of the year.