THE SITUATION IN KOLKATA
At least 16 of the 26 viral pneumonia patients at Kolkata Medical College were found infected with adenovirus, and four of them died.
In Kolkata, the adenovirus death toll stands at 11, including children. Hospitals are overloaded with cases, and two children are sharing a bed in some hospitals.
After a teenage girl died from adenovirus infections in Kharagpur, health service providers were given directives to manage adenovirus patients. Those suffering from fever, respiratory distress, or cold and cough, should be hospitalised soon, the authorities said. It is mandatory to run a PCR test on those showing symptoms of adenovirus.
Kolkata had previously experienced the virus earlier, but why is it so severe this time? Authorities are still trying to figure it out. Currently, there is no evidence of a new strain following a mutation. But a 'recombinant virus' could evolve after a mixture of two strains or serotypes, they said.
SAME SYMPTOMS, NO 'CONCERN' FOR BANGLADESHI PATIENTS
Children are crowding Dhaka Shishu Hospital with fever, cold and respiratory complaints.
Faisal Mahmud from Mohammadpur brought his son Junaid with a cough, cold and respiratory distress, to the Shishu Hospital on Monday. The doctors asked him to hospitalise the boy, but no bed was available. Junaid took his son to a private hospital and returned to Shishu Hospital on Wednesday.
His child had a high temperature ranging from 102 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit and then started having breathing trouble, Junaid said.
Tongi resident Sanjida Akter brought her one-and-a-half-year-old son Safayat Hossain to the hospital. "He's had a fever and cold for the past few days. That's why I brought him here. The doctor asked for an X-ray to investigate what's troubling him," she said.
Rowshan Ara was holding an oxygen mask on her grandson's mouth at the hospital's emergency department.
"My grandson got pneumonia after a fever. He needs the gas [oxygen] as he has trouble breathing,” said Rowshan from Kamrangir Char.
Patients with respiratory tract ailments come to the hospital mostly at the beginning and the end of winter, said Prof ASM Naushad Uddin Ahmed, acting director of the hospital. "It could be adenovirus or other viruses. But we don't have the facility to run a test to identify the virus at Shishu Hospital."
"To know how far the disease has spread in Bangladesh, we must run the vectorological and virological tests,' said IEDCR adviser Mushtuq Husain.
Prof Md Nazrul Islam, a virologist, also highlighted the need for medical tests. "It's important to know if they are the sub-variants of the virus that has spread in Kolkata. If we have patients with similar symptoms in Bangladesh, we must run tests on them,” said the former vice chancellor of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
IEDCR Director Prof Tahmina Shirin said the institute had no 'surveillance' system for the adenovirus.
"Therefore, we can't say how people contracted the pathogen or how many people were infected with adenovirus in Bangladesh," she said.