Thousands of children in Kashmir are suffering from an unknown infection with symptoms such as cough, fever, chills, sore throat, headache etc. Although officials are waiting for the final report about the nature of the infection, schools are on the verge of closure so as to prevent the infection from spreading to other children.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in New Delhi has, meanwhile, said that as per its assessment of six samples that had been sent to it by Kashmir’s Epidemiology Division of the Directorate of Health Services, it is not a case of swine flu. The authorities and doctors in Kashmir had suspected that the children may have been infected by the A H1N1 (swine flu) virus.
The health authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have asked parents not to panic and have assured them that the disease is curable. The Doctors’ Association of Kashmir has also asked people not to fret and have described the infection as a seasonal one.
J&K Health Services officials told this newspaper that the infection was due to a change of seasons in the valley and can be cured by anti-allergics. But the rush to the hospitals, especially to G.B. Pant Children’s hospital of Srinagar, is intensifying. “We are receiving hundreds of children with viral infections every day and the rush has increased manifold in the past few days,” said a senior doctor at G.B. Pant Children’s hospital of Srinagar. He said he was afraid that the authorities may be forced to close the gates of the hospital as more and more parents are flooding the hospital with their children.
‘The viral infection is due to season change in the Kashmir valley and it can be cured by taking some anti-allergics’
Because of panic and rumour, parents have stopped sending their children to school in many areas.
The doctors, however, insist that the infection will recede as the weather improves. As rumours have wreaked havoc in the rural areas, the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, issued a public advisory in the local newspapers, asking people not to pay any heed to the disinformation.
The advisory asked them not to panic if their children got any viral infection. The doctors have, however, advised the parents not to send their children to school as they might catch the infection from there.
People in the rural areas claim that no drugs are available against this unknown viral infection.
But officials of the State Health Department claim that they have dispatched an adequate number of drugs even to the remote areas.