Centre rushes experts' team as 30 kids die of 'mystery fever' in UP's Firozabad in 10 days

By PTI

LUCKNOW: The death toll due to dengue and viral fever in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad district mounted to 50 on Friday, even as a central government team reached here to take stock of the situation, officials said.

Three fresh fatalities were reported in Firozabad as the inflow of patients continued in hospitals of the district in the grip of the epidemic.

Considering the gravity of the problem, a six-member team of the Union health ministry arrived in Firozabad to look into all aspects of the disease, Additional Director (Health), Agra division A K Singh told PTI.

“The central medical team under the leadership of Tushar N Nale from the Department of National Centre for Disease Control visited here to look at the situation,” Officiating Superintendent of Firozabad government medical college Alok Kumar Sharma said.

The team is conducting an in-depth investigation into primary samples and other subjects along with collecting letters in the CMO office, Sangeeta Aneja, principal of the medical college said.

Known for bangles and glass works, Firozabad is around 50 km from Agra and 320 km from the capital city of Lucknow.

Some similar cases have also been found in neighbouring Mathura, Agra and Mainpuri, officials said.

At a meeting in Lucknow, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the principal secretary (Medical Education) to camp in Agra and Firozabad districts to take stock of the situation, an official spokesperson said.

The chief minister had paid a visit to Firozabad on Monday.

Instructions have also been given to use isolation beds with the facility of oxygen reserved for Covid patients for the treatment of viral diseases, including dengue, he said.

Chief Medical Officer Dinesh Kumar Premi, in a statement, said “so far, 50 people have died due to dengue and viral fever. Ten areas — nine blocks and a Nagar Nigam area — in the district are affected”.

There are 36 active camps in the district and 3,719 people, including those who have fever, are undergoing treatment there, he said.

Amid the rising death toll, District Magistrate Chandra Vijay Singh has made the chief development officer (CDO) the nodal officer of the district to oversee the treatment and other facilities for the patients.

Singh had suspended three doctors with immediate effect on Thursday on charges of negligence and warned government doctors of strict action for any negligence in the treatment of the patients.

Girish Srivastava of Primary Health Centre at Salai; Ruchi Srivastava, a public health expert; and Saurav were suspended.

Firozabad’s Chief Medical Officer Neeta Kulshresth was removed on Wednesday following the spate of deaths, mostly of children, since August 18 due to suspected cases of dengue.

Meanwhile, Sangeeta Aneja said 130 patients of dengue and viral outbreak were admitted in the pediatric ward as well as in the other wards of the Firozabad government medical college on Friday.

As many as 68 patients were discharged from the hospital on Friday and 331 patients are being treated in various wards of the medical college, she said.

The principal also said that in view of the increasing number of patients, another 100-bed unit is going to start Saturday morning in the medical college campus just opposite the 100-bed hospital in which doctors, ward boys and other staff have been deployed.

According to the Additional Director (Health) Agra division, 49 samples had been sent from here to KGMU, Lucknow for testing, of which 43 were found to be dengue positive and leptospirosis has been found in two cases.

No virus of any kind has been found in the remaining four cases, Singh said, adding that about four cases of dengue were found in Mainpuri in Agra division, but no death has been reported from there.

In Mathura, he said, till date 54 cases of dengue were reported in which nine people have died.

Two cases of dengue were found in Agra district and they are undergoing treatment and there is no news of any death from there, he added.

The official also said that a team of ICMR is continuously collecting the larvae in the area and sending them to the National Pathology Virology Lab, Pune, and its report is awaited.

In the investigation done so far, no variant has been found other than that of dengue and viral fever which matches coronavirus infection, he said. Aneja said the situation is likely to come under control and the spread of the epidemic will be controlled soon.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA Manish Asija claimed that on the basis of information available with him, the death toll has climbed to 61. He said he is meeting the victims’ families and collecting information about the number of deaths.