Last Updated: February 21, 2023, 16:40 IST
Adenovirus alarm bells are ringing in West Bengal. People here have been struggling to find available hospital beds in the paediatric department’s general intensive care unit (PICU). According to IANS, this new health concern has also led to almost 100 per cent occupancy of ventilators. The grave situation has been observed in both private and government hospitals. In order to diagnose and treat potential adenovirus cases early, the state health department has directed healthcare professionals in Kolkata to keep an eye out for flu-like symptoms in children.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says adenoviruses are common and can affect people of all ages at any time of the year. They usually cause a mild cold or an illness similar to the flu. Serious diseases do occur but only in rare cases.
Adenovirus usually manifests in the form of common cold or flu-like symptoms. Those infected may spike a fever or have a sore throat. More serious symptoms such as inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which can cause pain, nausea, and vomiting, can occur. One might also develop acute bronchitis, pneumonia, and conjunctivitis due to the virus.
Most adenoviruses are typically spread through close personal contact with an infected person. It can be airborne as well, getting transmitted through coughing and sneezing. Touching a surface that has adenoviruses on it and then touching one’s face– especially mouth and nose– aids in the spread of the virus, too.
Spreading through an infected person’s stool or through water is possible, but less common.
Who is at risk?
Those who already have a weakened immune system or pre-existing cardiac or respiratory diseases are at higher risk of developing severe illness from such an infection.
Prevention and treatment
Following simple steps such as washing one’s hands with soap, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and ensuring that you are not in close contact with a sick person can go a long way in preventing contracting adenovirus.
Prevention is the best cure for this group of viruses since there are no approved antiviral medicines. There is no and no adenovirus vaccine available to the general public yet, either. Most adenovirus infections are mild and may be managed with over-the-counter pain medicines and some rest.
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