At least seven children have died in a village in Haryana’s Palwal district in the last three weeks, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. The deaths have prompted health officials to inquire into the cause.
Six of the children had developed a fever and died within three to four days, according to the newspaper. The seventh child, a one-month-old baby, did not have a fever.
The residents of Chilli village and health officials attribute the deaths to various diseases – dengue, gastroenteritis, pneumonia and vector borne illnesses caused by poor sanitation. Twenty-five health teams are trying to ascertain the cause of the deaths.
Dr Rajiv Batish, Palwal district’s malaria officer, told The Indian Express: “Some water pipes [in the village] are coming out of drains, so there is contamination. There is no proper drainage, so wherever water collects, there is a possibility that mosquitoes will multiply during the monsoon.”
Low platelet count was a common symptom among six of the children, leading to fears that the village is experiencing a dengue outbreak.
“We are not ruling out dengue, but at the moment, we have not received any dengue positive report from the samples we have taken from the village,” Palwal Chief Medical Officer Dr Brahmdeep Sandhu told The Indian Express.
The official added: “Among the deaths that occurred, two were from suspected pneumonia, one was a case of severe anaemia, one was due to fever from gastroenteritis, one an acute fever and another was due to fever with shock. In yesterday’s [Tuesday] case of death, there was no illness associated with it.”
Senior Medical Officer Dr Vijay Kumar told India Today that health officials were conducting door-to-door screening in the village.
He added: “Our team has found mosquito larvae in the water in the homes of the people. The deaths of children in the village may have been due to dengue but it has not been confirmed yet.”
Uttar Pradesh is also grappling with an outbreak of dengue and viral fever. In Firozabad district, 114 people, including 88 children have died till Sunday, according to The Times of India.