The number of children affected by a new disease that has symptoms of dengue has increased in Bengaluru, according to reports. The new dengue-like disease, called Acute Febrile Illness, is a viral infection in which children suffer from cough, cold, high-grade fever and excessive shivering.
"In that case, we evaluate for dengue and malaria. The number of children presenting with this condition has increased because the symptoms are combining with malarial fever and dengue fever, and the uncertain climatic changes give more space for an increase in the number of infections. We see at least 20 – 25 children on a daily basis with acute febrile illness," Dr Mayuri Yeole, Consultant paediatrician, Apollo Hospitals Seshadripuram, told Bangalore Mirror.
While experts have claimed difficulty in differentiating the infection from dengue, the infection shows less severity and complication compared with dengue. "Dengue is affecting children of all ages. Non-dengue febrile illness is affecting children (2-5 years of age) who are attending pre-schools," said Dr Anil Kumar Sapare, consultant- paediatric pulmonologist, Narayana Health City.
Doctors explained that factors such as rains and re-opening of schools have attributed to the spread of the infection among children.
Investigation to differentiate the illness from dengue or other viral infection are carried out based on symptoms.
"The child may develop body ache, headache, pain in the eye and rashes but these are quite severe in the cases of dengue. We wait for four to five days to do the blood test and conclude if its dengue or other viral infection. The treatment is symptomatic," said Dr Bhaskar Shenoy, head of the department of paediatrics, Manipal Hospitals.
Doctors have advised parents to not send children suffering from the infection to school, as it spreads rather quickly among children with low immunity. Small and usually non-ventilated classrooms further add on to its spread through air or droplet infection (sneezing or coughing).
"You can give children a lot of fluids, juices and tender coconut. Paracetamol is good. Other fever medication is not advisable as it could reduce the platelet count and lead to bleeding," advised Dr Shenoy.
The number of dengue cases in Bangaluru has seen a rapid spurt this year with more than 3,393 diagnoses recorded in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) areas alone, till July end. The overall number of dengue cases in the districts (2,160 other than Bangaluru) is reportedly much lower compared to the number of cases in urban Bangaluru.
Factors such as intermittent rains and waterlogging have caused the spurt in the number of dengue cases in the city, BBMP Chief Health Officer BK Vijendra told The Hindu. "We have identified 36 high-risk wards where dengue cases are on the rise and have intensified preventive measures and awareness campaigns here," he added.