Health officials in Kolkata have asked citizens to be alert amid a rise in cases of flu-like symptoms suspected to be caused by adenovirus, particularly among young children.
As of 18 February, a total of 115 patients have been admitted with respiratory issues in the city. There are reportedly 22 patients in ICU/HDU with respiratory problems, of which 5 are children.
In light of the growing number of cases, the state health department, on 19 February, issued an advisory for the management of adenovirus respiratory illnesses to all districts.
Here's what to know about the symptoms, management, and prevention.
What is adenovirus?
According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Adenoviruses are viruses that typically cause respiratory illness, mild cold, or flu-like illness.
Respiratory illnesses caused by adenovirus include non-COVID coronavirus, influenza, para influenza, rhinovirus, and pneumococci.
What are the symptoms of respiratory illnesses caused by adenovirus?
The most common symptoms of adenovirus infections are,
Persistent fever for more than 3 days
Cough, and sore throat
Diarrhoea, and vomiting
Who can get it?
Although anyone can get it, the city health department has especially asked those with a family history of similar illness to be extra cautious.
Moreover, young children are vulnerable, especially those who have Co-morbidity – prematurity, low birth weight, congenital heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, neurological disability, renal disease , malignancy, malnutrition and immunocompromised state.
How is it treated?
There is no one treatment for adenoviral flu. For milder cases, at-home management is advised. This includes,
Symptomatic care to keep down a fever - Paracetamol can help, but should not be taken more than 5 times a day.
Adequate hydration and feeding.
ORS for diarrhoea.
Monitoring of temperature, fast breathing, general activity, oral intake and urine output.
Report to health care facilities if danger signs develop.
Serious cases may need hospitalisation.
When should I call for medical help?
According to the advisory issued by the City Health Department, the patient should be hospitalised if they have:
Persistent fever for more than 3 - 5 days
Oxygen saturation is less than 92 percent in room air
reduced appetite, and consume less than 50 percent of normal intake
Urine output is less than 5 times in a day
Other extrapulmonary manifestations that might need immediate medical attention are symptoms of altered sensorium, convulsion, shock, myocardial dysfunction, and acute kidney injury.
Can it be prevented?
The city health department advices these measures to help prevent adenovirus.
Isolate of Adult members with fever and respiratory symptoms.
Isolate children < 2 yrs from adult members or older children with fever or any respiratory symptom.
Wear mask at home if you have any respiratory symptom.
Maintain hand hygiene - wash your hands frequently, and use hand sanitizers when required.
Make sure to properly dispose off infected materials like tissues, face masks etc.
Children having flu like symptoms should not be sent to school.
Avoid crowded place. Maintain social distancing.
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