All fevers are not COVID-19 now as paediatricians have been seeing cases of dengue among children in the last few months. Parents should look out for other infectious diseases including vector-borne and water-borne diseases, and seek medical help without delay, they say.
Though the number of children affected by dengue was less when compared to last year, paediatricians stress on the need to take precautionary measures. Fever for two to three days along with symptoms of lethargy, reduced activity and vomiting should not be ignored.
A senior doctor from Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children, Egmore, said there were very few cases of dengue now. “There were sporadic cases in August and September. We still see very few cases of dengue. This may be due to closure of schools as dengue is caused by day-biting mosquitoes. In case of fever, parents should not resort to over-the-counter drugs for children. They should rather seek medical help in the nearest health facility. Paediatricians have an eye for dengue. We conduct tests, including complete blood count, immediately, and admit children with suspected symptoms of dengue,” the doctor said.
Reiterating the need to stay cautious once the fever starts to subside, the doctor said due to COVID-19, parents brought in children earlier and this has led to early detection of dengue and prevention of complications.
J. Ganesh, professor and head of paediatrics, Government Stanley Medical College Hospital, said usually cases of dengue were reported during the months of August-September-October. “This year, our hospital recorded few cases of dengue. The severity of the disease is less too. With the rains now, the usual precautions such as avoiding water stagnation and use of mosquito nets should be followed,” he said.
Janani Sankar, senior consultant, Kanchi Kamakoti CHILDS Trust Hospital, said along with cases of COVID-19 in children, they were seeing dengue, scrub typhus infections and gastroenteritis. “Older children testing positive for COVID-19 have pneumonia like adults, while younger children have multisystem inflammatory syndrome,” she said.