Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Monday confirmed that 32 children and seven adults have died so far in Firozabad city due to an unidentified disease, reported The Hindu.

Principal and dean of the Autonomous State Medical Hospital Dr Sangeeta Aneja said that common symptoms of the disease include diarrhoea, vomiting and high fever.

“The cases rose suddenly in the last five days and 90% of the affected are children,” Aneja told The Hindu. “Many of them have tested positive for dengue but there are others who have shown a drop in platelets, but have not tested for the viral disease spread by Aedes mosquito.”

The chief minister, who visited the city, directed authorities to make sure that every patient was treated, according to PTI. Adityanath said that the cause of the deaths would be established after an investigation by a team of doctors from Lucknow’s King George Medical College.

Adityanath warned against any negligent handling of the cases, and directed officials to make arrangements for additional ambulances for patients in rural areas. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister also visited the Sudama Nagar area, where a majority of the cases were recorded.

“A separate ward has been created for this suspicious fever in Firozabad and the dedicated Covid-19 ward has been reserved as separate ward,” Adityanath said, according to the Hindustan Times. “There have been three deaths at Medical College. In all, 32 children and seven adults have died because of the suspicious fever.”

The chief minister said that the first case was reported on August 18.

However, “due to lack of awareness at the local level”, the chief minister said that the patients were admitted to private hospitals and clinics.

“After learning about the fever, the health department and administration appraised authorities of the situation at the state level,” Adityanath said, according to the Hindustan Times. He added that a paediatric isolation ward had been set up where three children died over the last two days.

Aneja said that close to 200 children were receiving treatment at the government hospital. The doctor added that those hospitalised had been tested for Covid-19 and that their reports were negative.

The doctor said that the body temperature of the patient suffering from this unidentified disease usually reaches 102 degrees Celsius, and the fever takes around four days to subside.

“As we were taken by surprise, the primary focus is on saving lives by arranging blood platelets,” Aneja said, according to The Hindu. “Now that the surveillance team from Lucknow is here, we will get to know the specific reason. They have collected blood samples.”

Meanwhile, the district administration announced a shut down of schools for students of Classes one to eight for a week.

On Monday, Adityanath visited the 100-bed government hospital and met the children who were being treated. He also reviewed the situation in all the hospital wards.

On Sunday, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Firozabad, Manish Asija, had claimed that more than 40 children had succumbed to dengue in the district over the past week. He had accused the Uttar Pradesh health department and the local authorities for being responsible for the “tragedy”, reported PTI. “Most of these children were in the 4-15 age group,” Asija had claimed.

However, Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh had refuted this, saying the state administration had not received any such reports of deaths.