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In India, unknown fever has claimed the lives of several dozen people, mostly children

Doctors in the affected areas report that many patients have been taken to the hospital with low platelet counts.

For the umpteenth time during the pandemic, India is sounding the alarm with news of the outbreak of yet another mysterious disease. Over the past week, an unknown fever has claimed the lives of several dozen people, mostly children. In connection with this, authorities in one of the states have closed schools. Preliminarily the outbreak is not related to coronavirus.

The causes of the outbreak are still under investigation

The first case of the unidentified disease in India was detected on August 18, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said this week. A total of 132 cases are known to date, 68 of which have been fatal, with at least 40 of the deaths occurring in children.

Local media quoted India's authorities as saying that the death toll is only an estimate, as health authorities are counting the deaths in public health facilities.

Patients complain that they wake up wet with sweat and with a high fever. In addition, most report joint pain, headache, dehydration, and nausea. Some patients had a rash on their arms and legs and enlarged lymph nodes.

More than 200 million people live in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous Indian state. Sanitation standards here are low, child malnutrition is high, and health care is poor.

On Aug. 31, Amit Mohan Prasad, the state's undersecretary of health, said the unknown disease could be dengue fever, a viral infection that is transmitted through the bites of mosquitoes that breed in swampy ponds.

"The causes of the outbreak are still being investigated, but the symptoms are similar to dengue. We have already triggered the capacity of the state health system," the official said.

Doctors in the affected areas report that many patients were taken to the hospital with low platelet counts, which is typical of a severe form of dengue.

"Patients, especially children, are dying very quickly in hospitals," BBC News quoted Dr. Nita Kulshrestha, a health official in Firozabad district, where 40 people, including 32 children, died in the past week.

Dengue is a predominantly tropical disease and has been circulating in India for hundreds of years. It is endemic in more than 100 countries, but about 70 percent of cases are reported in Asia.

Over the past 20 years, the virus has become one of the most common pathogens and has mutated into nearly 50 strains. As many as 400 million cases are reported worldwide each year and children are five times more likely to die after a second infection than adults.

The first symptoms of fever usually appear 3 to 14 days after infection. Patients have a fever, headache, vomiting, and a characteristic body rash.

In advanced cases, the disease progresses to the hemorrhagic stage and leads to severe consequences and including death. But in most cases, the disease in infected people is asymptomatic or mild.

According to the World Health Organization, there is no specific treatment for dengue fever, and the vaccine for this infection can only be applied to people who have already had it once.

Researchers are trying to stop the spread of dengue fever in a variety of ways, starting with the extermination of mosquitoes.

So, scientists conducted an experiment in which they infected mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria and released the insects. This not only helped significantly reduce the number of cases of the virus but also prevented a severe course of the disease.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases in India rose by 47,092 in the past 24 hours, the highest in two months, the country's Ministry of Health said.

The highest number of new cases, 32,800, was recorded in the southern state of Kerala. At the same time, a total of 230,400 people in Kerala are being treated for the coronavirus — more than any other state in India.

India remains in second place in the world for the number of detected cases of coronavirus. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, the total number of people infected with the coronavirus has exceeded 32.8 million since last March when the first cases were identified in the country, more than 32 million have recovered, more than 439,000 have died, and the number of people receiving treatment is 389,000.

The Health Department also noted an increase in the number of people vaccinated against the coronavirus — more than 663 million people received the COVID-19 vaccine, with 509 million people receiving a single dose of the vaccine and more than 153 million receiving both doses.

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