Pediatricians have attributed the rise in cases of dengue and viral pneumonia cases among children to poor immunity for emerging viruses because of less exposure during the pandemic years, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express.
Dr Rajath Athreya, Senior Consultant and Head of Department (Paediatrics and Neonatology), Sakra World Hospital, explained, "COVID gave us a period where social distancing led to children not getting exposed to infections. Otherwise, they would have developed some sort of immunity. Now children are seen getting affected more severely with any virus that comes into circulation every two to three weeks.”
Over the last few weeks, an average of ten children suffering from dengue are treated every day. Of them, two need hospital admission. Dr Athreya said five to ten pneumonia cases are being diagnosed daily with one or two cases needing admission.The changing weather conditions have led to the emergence of adenovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases.
Dr SR Lakshmipathy, Senior Specialist Paediatrician at KC General Hospital, told The New Indian Express that the rise is being monitored since mid-July.
Of the total 150 patients visiting the paediatric OPD ward every day, 50 are seen to be suffering from dengue-like infection. The 36-bed paediatric ward has 50 per cent occupancy with such cases and the remaining with viral pneumonia cases. Children with both dengue and viral pneumonia are seen severely getting affected lately, doctors said.
Dr Rajath said that pre-COVID, the intensity of the infection among children would be much milder but now they are seen severely symptomatic with sore throat, high fever, cough and breathing issues.
Dr Lakshmipathy explained that most inpatient cases are severe and children with viral pneumonia need oxygen support. It is a cause of worry as the children’s airway is small that makes the severity of respiratory issues higher. However, the patients are responding well to the treatment, he added.