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After several cases of fever and dysentery is among children have been reported in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district, the state government on Thursday assured that there was no reason to worry over it. It further said that the cause of the disease has been ascertained and the administration is working out ways to deal with it.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee chaired a high-profile meeting with senior officials and doctors of five medical colleges and hospitals. Following the meeting, health secretary NS Nigam said, "There is nothing to worry about these cases of infections. The virus, 'Respiratory Syncytial’, is found to have caused the fever among children." Three children who died in Jalpaiguri after contracting the fever had other ailments which led to their demise, he also said. 

Meanwhile, one out of all the children admitted to hospitals with fever tested positive for COVID-19.

A standard operating procedure (SOP) will be soon released by the health department in connection with the treatment of the virus. 

State deputy health secretary Dr Ajay Chakraborty said, “Such respiratory ailments are nothing uncommon among them at this time of the year." 

The number of cases this time isn't as much as it was in the previous years. In Jalpaiguri District Hospital, a total of 1,195 children have been admitted between September 1 and 15. 

"Two of them died -- one due to congenital heart disease and pneumonia and the other had birth asphyxia," he explained. Drawing a parallel, Chakraborty said on an average 2,000 such admissions are usually recorded around this time of the year. 

In 2017, six deaths due to various infections, including the one induced by RSV, were recorded and the year after, four fatalities were registered, he maintained. Last year, overall admissions in hospitals had showed a decline owing to the COVID-19 situation, the deputy health secretary underlined. 

The health department recently constituted a committee of experts to find out the cause of the fever among hundreds of children, mostly in Jalpaiguri and its adjoining areas. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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