West Bengal has seen the death of five children in the last 24 hours, primarily due to respiratory infections in different hospitals in the state capital Kolkata, although doctors are unsure whether it was due to Adenovirus, news agency PTI reported citing a health department official said on Tuesday.

According to the report, two of the five children were being treated at Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, while three others were being treated at the Dr B C Roy Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences.

"All of the five children died due to pneumonia. We are still waiting for the test report on a nine-month-old to confirm whether she died due to Adenovirus or not," the health official was quoted as saying by PTI.

According to the report, two infants died in government hospitals in Kolkata due to respiratory infections.

"A nine-month-old baby from Chandernagore in the neighbouring Hooghly district died at the Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, while another child died at the Dr B C Roy Postgraduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences," the report said. 

Two deaths were recorded on Monday, according to the official quoted by PTI, who added that the cases had been sent from hospitals in neighbouring regions.

Three deaths have been reported in the state since Saturday, one of which was caused by the Adenovirus infection.

Bengal has reported an unexpected increase in adenovirus cases, but the state health administration has stated that there is no cause for concern because the situation is under control.

According to health experts, until January of this year, approximately 32 per cent of all samples given to the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases proved positive for the virus. According to the PTI report, the majority of these instances originated in Kolkata.

The surge in adenovirus cases was not previously noted because of the Covid pandemic, according to West Bengal Director of Health Services Sidharth Niyogi. But, with Covid cases declining sharply this year and people refusing to be tested, adenovirus cases have increased.

Adenoviruses are a form of a virus that causes respiratory illnesses such as flu-like disease, common cold, conjunctivitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, or croup, an infection of the upper airway that narrows and makes breathing difficult.

Adenoviruses typically cause infections in the respiratory or digestive tracts of children. Adenovirus respiratory infections are most common in the late winter, spring, and early summer, but they can happen at any time of year.

According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, digestive tract infections are more common in children under the age of five, and by the age of ten, most children have had at least one form of infection.

(With Inputs From Agencies)

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