Amid panic among people, the J&K Government has taken samples from different hospitals to identify the virus, which has infected thousands of children across Kashmir.
After the outbreak of the viral infection among schoolchildren in the first week of March in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir (DHSK), immediately sent a team of doctors to prevent the viral infection from spreading further.
The viral infection had engulfed almost all the children of the Pethkot hamlet of Bandipora. Besides, a 5-year-old boy, Nazim Khan, who was also suffering from viral infection and had underlying comorbidity of a congenital heart disease, had died at his home on March 4.
The team of doctors treated 68 children having viral infection at Pethkot hamlet on March 6.
“Initially, we had information that the infection is restricted to Pethkot village only but later, it came out to have infected other areas of the district also. We distributed over 1,000 bottles of cough syrups among the patients in Pethkot,” block medical officer, Bandipora, Dr Syed-ur-Rehman said.
As the viral infection turned into an epidemic, the DHSK sent a team of doctors from epidemiology division to Bandipora to collect samples on March 16.
The five samples collected from Bandipora were sent to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi, to identify the virus, believed to be airborne.
“We have taken five samples in Bandipora to identify the virus which has infected thousands of children in Kashmir. We are expecting a report from the NCDC in the next few days,” Kashmir epidemiologist Rehana Kousar said.
The epidemiology division has also issued advisories and started creating awareness among people to prevent the infection from spreading further. However, Kousar said the infection had plateaued with the improvement in the weather.
At Kashmir’s lone tertiary-care children’s hospital, GB Pant, the rush of viral-infected children continued today. “There is no end to it but we hope things will improve in the next few days. The number of patients in the Outpatient Department has exceeded by 1,500 per day while the rush in the casualty department during night has gone up from 100 to 800,” medical superintendent of GB Pant Hospital, Dr K K Pandita said.