Dozens of people have died in the past week in Utter Pradesh, India
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A mystery fever that has killed dozens of children and spread to more than 30,000 people in India has raised fears of a new Covid-like epidemic.
Just as the country appears to be getting a grip on the devastating second wave of the coronavirus, another infection has hit several districts in the northern state of Utter Pradesh.
For more than a week, children have been waking up with a high fever and bathed in sweat.
Other symptoms reported joint pain, headache, dehydration, and nausea, while in some cases rashes were spread over the legs and arms.
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At least 50 people, mostly children, have died from the virus and several hundred have been hospitalized in six districts – none of the dead tested positive for Covid. reports the BBC.
Doctors in some of the affected areas – namely Agra, Mathura, Mainpuri, Etah, Kasganj and Firozabad – believe the dengue mosquito-borne viral infection could be to blame.
A tell-tale sign of the most severe forms of this infection is reduced platelets, the part of the blood that causes clotting – which is what many patients with the mystery bug have.
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Dr. Neeta Kulshrestha, the senior health agency in Firozabad district, said: “The patients, especially the children, in the hospitals die very quickly.”
40 people, including 32 children, died in the district this week.
The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, said the hospitals in Firozabad would be so stressed that a station reserved for Covid patients would be used for the new fever.
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According to the World Health Organization (WHO): “The combined effects of Covid-19 and dengue epidemics can potentially have devastating consequences for those at risk.”
However, some reports suggest that the deaths could be the result of typhus. reports India today.
It is transmitted by infected mite bites and there were significant outbreaks in India in 2003 and 2007, with severe cases requiring hospitalization.
There’s no vaccine, but doxycycline and antibiotics are used as treatments.
India has seen nearly 440,000 Covid deaths, with the Delta variant in particular spreading like wildfire.
More than 200 million people live in Uttar Pradesh and the sanitary facilities are widespread.
The local health service often reports mysterious fever cases after monsoon rains every two years.