June 7: No more child deaths were reported from Lalgola subdivision of Murshidabad district today, where a mystery fever has claimed the lives of at least 31 babies over the past five days.
A team from the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, led by state director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee, arrived in Behrampore this evening.
“No more deaths have been reported from the area today and our medical teams are in the area 24 hours, distributing medicines and ensuring that the outbreak is brought under control,” Murshidabad district magistrate Manoj Panth said.
The disease, which is accompanied by high temperature and convulsions, has afflicted children up to five years old. No one, however, seems to know the cause of the fever as yet.
Over a hundred children have been admitted to hospitals in Lalgola.
Among several villages in the Lalgola area, the most affected are Nasipur, Kadamtala, Kulgachhi and Krishnadebpur.
“The team of experts will go the areas tomorrow. We expect that blood samples will be sent to Calcutta for clinical tests,” said health secretary Asim Barman.
The sudden outbreak of the disease and the death of over 31 infants have also prompted the Union health ministry to seek a report from the state government.
“We will send a detailed report once the blood samples are tested and the cause of the outbreak is determined,” director of medical education Chittaranjan Maity said.
Local doctors have attributed the disease to a virus that had infected the children due to the high temperatures prevailing in Murshidabad district since the past few weeks.
They also said that the disease could be water-borne as well.