Mystery fever kills 24 children including newborn as frantic medics hunt answers

The outbreak of a mystery disease in northern India has killed 24 children in ten days, leaving doctors baffled.

Patients first complain of joint pains, headaches, dehydration and nausea, but can die within hours. Three seven-year-old children and a nine-day old baby died on last Friday alone.

One of the victim’s parents told reporters that their daughter died soon after being taken to hospital complaining of fever.

She said: "My daughter complained of fever on Thursday evening. We admitted her to the Nalhad Medical College for treatment but she died in the evening.”

Another parent said their son had died the day after complaining of similar symptoms.

"The patients, especially children, in hospitals are dying very quickly," Dr Neeta Kulshrestha said.

Local news station News 18 reports that some victims have struggled to get medical help because severe flooding in the region had made it difficult for them to reach hospitals.

A health official said that tissue samples had been taken from the victims “to identify the causes behind the mysterious fever."

As yet there’s no definitive diagnosis for the fever, and so doctors are unable to determine an effective treatment.

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Experts believe the mystery fever could be a variant of dengue, a viral infection spread by mosquitoes which is endemic in Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean.

There are four known variants of the dengue virus, and as yet there is no effective vaccine against them.

Another mystery virus killed more than 50 Indians in August. Again, most of them were children.

India’s health infrastructure has been crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 18,833 new coronavirus infections reported this week, taking the country's total numberto 3,38,71,881 – one of the worst in the world.

India's top court has approved a government decision to pay 50,000 rupees (just under £500) as compensation for every death due to Covid-19.

"You give funds for hailstorm, floods, etc, so you should now add Covid-19 too,” local government minister Govind Singh Dotasara told The Indian Express newspaper.

“It’s not that only one state has been affected by it, it's a pandemic”.

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