KOLKATA: Doctors across Kolkata have come across several cases of multiple viral infections over the past fortnight, including that of a 65-year-old woman who was struck simultaneously by four different viruses. Some of the severe cases that are now being treated in hospitals are those with multiple viral or dual viral-bacterial infections, they say.
A wide range of viruses are now in circulation in the city laying thousands low with fever, cough and breathing distress. Adenovirus, influenza A, influenza B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), metapneumovirus, rhinovirus, para influenza and non-Covid coronaviruses have been dominant so far. H3N2, a sub-type of influenza A, has also been detected frequently this month, say hospitals.
The 65-year-old woman was first admitted to CMRI Hospital with haemophilus influenzae - a bacterial infection that left her with severe breathing distress. She also had multiple comorbidities, including hypertension and diabetes that made her vulnerable to infections. Soon after she recovered and went home, she had a relapse of symptoms and was rushed back to hospital earlier this week. This time, she tested positive for influenza A, metapneumovirus, rhinovirus and adenovirus.
'Transmissibility higher this time'
Kolkata: In a rare case of multiple viral attack, a 65-year-old woman rushed to a city hospital with respiratory distress earlier this week was found to have been simultaneously infected with four viruses - influenza A, metapneumovirus, rhinovirus and adenovirus.
"This is indeed unusual though we have come across several cases of double infection, either both viral or one bacterial and the other viral. These cases are obviously turning out to be very severe with intense symptoms and a longer recovery period," said CMRI director of pulmonology Raja Dhar. "Transmissibility of the viruses, too, has been much higher this time. The daughter of the 65-year-old is also admitted with viral infection and several others in their family have similar but mild infections," Dhar said.
Peerless Hospital, too, has detected several cases of multiple infections, including among children. Around 10% of samples tested at the hospital were found to have more than one virus, said Peerless microbiologist Bhaskar Narayan Chowdhury. "While some children have tested positive for adenovirus and metapneumo or rhinovirus, several adults have had a double attack of influenza and rhino or metapneumo. Some cases of simultaneous viral and bacterial infections have also been detected," said Chowdhury, adding that multiple viral attacks took on a more serious turn in elders with comorbidities.
According to Dhar, some young patients have had a severe disease triggered by a double viral attack due to hyper-immune response.
"As in Covid, these patients had a severe immune response that led to complications. But majority of double viral attack victims are elderly with comorbidities," he said.
Patients with comorbidities like diabetes, immunocompromised kidneys or HIV were prone to concomitant secondary infections leading to pneumonia and other lung infections, said Shubhadeep Sinha, consultant physician, infectious diseases, at Pace Hospitals, Hyderabad.

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