Some paediatricians said that there may be a "disturbing" rise in viral respiratory infections and bronchopneumonia cases in children over the past week. Children are coming in with fever, cough, cold, other flu-like symptoms and respiratory infections and many need hospitalisation. At various hospitals, about 10-20% of the OPD patients need hospitalisation now.
"The cases of respiratory infections in children reported in the past one week are higher than usual, which is definitely disturbing, and we can't explain the sudden spike. Investigations suggest different viral infections and bronchopneumonia cases. There are also Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases, which is common during the winter months," said Dr Ranjit Gulliani, paediatrician and additional medical superintendent of Sharda Hospital .
Officials at Sharda hospital said that while there is no shortage of beds, most in the paediatric wards are full. Some of the big hospitals in the city reported a similar status of admissions.
Doctors added that while these are seasonal infections, the cases are much higher than the past few years. "There is a definite rise in cases of children with viral fever and respiratory issues and most OPDs are full. However, the good part is that most cases are not very serious. Last year, seasonal flu cases were much less because of the lockdown and there were fewer cases the year before that too," said Dr Ashutosh Sinha, additional director of paediatrics at Fortis Hospital, Noida.
He added that during seasonal changes, flu vaccines are usually prescribed for children before monsoon and winter.
Other doctors explained that the rise in cases may be because of the fluctuation in weather patterns that usually normalise by the end of September. "There is always a rise in viral fever cases around monsoon, but they reduce by this time. However, this year the monsoon has been extended. Also, the weather has been fluctuating a lot as it gets hot and humid one day and pleasant the next day. Such fluctuations affect children's health. Most children admitted to the hospital are up to three years old and some also need oxygen," said Dr DK Gupta, paediatrician and chairman of Felix hospital.
He added that while the increase in sick children is a cause of concern, such weather changes mostly affect those with allergic conditions. This could also explain the early RSV cases, which are common during winter, he said.
Dr Jyotsna Madan, director of Child PGI , added that the cases have increased in the past two weeks. Most children coming to Child PGI seem to have viral infections and dengue.
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