Mysterious fever among children in Karnataka. Don’t panic, say doctors

“In case of any unusual symptoms, molecular tests, swab collections, virus cultures etc will have to be done to see if there are any changes even in known viruses,” Dr Niranjan Patil said.

Published: 23rd September 2021 05:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2021 05:57 AM   |  A+A-

Representational image | VINAY MADAPU

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Doctors in Karnataka are seeing an increasing number of viral fever cases in children showing symptoms of Covid and Dengue but testing negative, raising doubts whether this is a result of mutations in the viruses.

Though this new virus or viruses have been showing prolonged illness than the usual seasonal viruses, doctors stressed that there is no reason to panic, and children should not be subjected to unnecessary tests unless the symptoms are unusual.

Doctors are seeing children, especially in the age group of zero to five years, presenting symptoms of high-grade fever, fatigue, cough, cold and vomiting, but are testing negative even for some seasonal infections, like respiratory syncytial virus, H1N1 or chikungunya.

Dr Niranjan Patil, Associate Vice-President, Scientific Business Head -- Infectious diseases, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, said if a typical symptom like fever is persisting for more than three days or the timing is differing, or children from a particular area are showing similar symptoms, then there has to be a syndromic approach (depending on particular symptoms presented in the specific condition of illness).

OLD VIRUS IN NEW BOTTLE, SAYS DOCTOR

“IN case of any unusual symptoms, molecular tests, swab collections, virus cultures etc will have to be done to see if there are any changes even in known viruses,” Dr Niranjan Patil said. “We have seen at least 50-60 children with viral fevers and influenza symptoms, but we could diagnose only around 40% of cases with different seasonal illnesses.

The rest we treated only symptomatically as there is no classification so far on such infections,” said Dr Chikkanarasa Reddy, head of paediatrics, Bowring & Lady Curzon Medical College & Hospital. Terming it as only “seasonal”, Dr Rohini Kelkar, Senior Consultant, Clinical Microbiologist and Specialist, Metropolis Healthcare, said, “It is an old virus in a new bottle.

With the background of Covid, many people tend to panic. Syndromic testing and identification of the virus matters.” Dr Ranjan Kumar Pejaver, paediatrician and president, Neonatal Forum, said, “Parents need not panic.

They should look for unusual presentations in the child like croup (infection of the upper airway that obstructs breathing to cause a barking cough), breathlessness, turning blue, not eating due to high fever, fever not subsiding even after two days, rashes etc. Self-medication is dangerous. A doctor should be consulted.” Doctors said there has been an increase in cases of children with hacking or barking cough and persistent fever.



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