BENGALURU: Even as the last few months saw a gradual drop in Covid cases, with those testing positive being in the mild category or remaining asymptomatic, the second wave has kindled new fears. Along with a steady spurt in cases, hospitals are noticing a sudden rise in Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) cases. During the first wave, many patients had developed SARI, with symptoms of cough, shortness of breath and fever. The increase in SARI cases was observed largely in adults aged above 60, and it even led to deaths. However, with the right management and treatment protocol, the cases had come down.
Dr Vivek Padegal, Director - Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, pointed out that the percentage of Covid-pneumonia cases in their Covid ward is about 40-50 per cent, which is significantly higher than last year. “I believe this might be because of a new strain, or reinfection with increased severity the second time around. We are observing this mostly in patients above the age of 65 and about a third of the patients are below the age of 50.
We also have a few patients in the age group of 30-35,” he said. At Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, there is a dedicated ward for SARI patients, which is seeing 30-40 cases per day. “In the past two months, SARI cases had dropped. However, now we are seeing 2.5-3 per cent Covid positivity among SARI patients. Out of 150 dedicated SARI beds, we have 50 patients right now in the ward.
The ones who are Covid-positive are being sent to Victoria Hospital, as we are not treating Covid patients for now,” said Dr C Nagaraj, Director of RGICD, further pointing out that dust is an added factor to SARI. Dr Srivatsa Lokeshwaran, Consultant - Interventional Pulmonology, Aster CMI Hospital, said, “There has been an increase in SARI. We had a handful of patients six weeks back, but now our wards are full. With the mutant strain, we might be seeing an increase in SARI cases. Another issue is that people have been letting their guard down.”