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What is the Deadly Adenovirus That Has Killed 19 Children in India's West Bengal?

CC BY 2.0 / Dr. Y Rosen / Adenovirus infection Case 161
Adenovirus infection Case 161 - Sputnik India, 1920, 16.03.2023
Indian states are currently reporting several flu-like diseases, including H1N1, H3N2, and adenovirus. The number of COVID cases is also spiking in the country.
West Bengal in eastern India is now seeing a rise in Adenovirus, a respiratory infection. The state witnessed the death of four children this week, and thousands are being admitted to hospitals.
Since January, the state has registered more than 12,000 cases of Adenovirus, and 19 children have reportedly died in the past two weeks.
Sputnik reached out to a specialist to learn more about this disease and the dangers it hides.

What is Adenovirus and Why is it Dangerous?

Adenovirus is a highly contagious, air-borne virus with flu-like symptoms. It affects the respiratory tract and infected people spread it by coughing, sneezing, or touching contaminated spaces.
It also causes liver inflammation or acute hepatitis. So far, the disease has been found in 34 countries.

“It can happen to individuals of any age. However, it is more commonly seen among children and adolescent babies in winter, spring, and early summer. Anyone with a weaker immune system or developing immune are more prone to get Adenovirus,” Dr. Shonit Kantroo, a pediatrician, told Sputnik.

“Symptoms include common cold, fever, sore throat, acute bronchitis, pneumonia (infection of the lungs), the inflammation of the stomach or intestines causes diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain,” Dr. Kantroo said.
“The less known symptoms include bladder inflammation or infection and neurologic disease, which is a condition that affects the brain and spinal cord.”

If untreated, Adenovirus can cause multiorgan involvement and fulminant form of infections- meningitis and encephalitis. Parents should check the symptoms in the early days as so far, no vaccine for the virus is available, Dr. Kantroo warned.

What States in India Are in Danger?

Meanwhile, the West Bengal state government has formed a high-level task force to monitor adenovirus cases.
The state department is monitoring the cases, and equipped hospitals in the state capital Kolkata with extra beds and ventilators for severe cases, since people living in the outskirts or rural parts of West Bengals travel to Kolkata with their children.
Meanwhile, the virus has also been tracked in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.