Children 'Dying Very Quickly' as Mystery Fever Kills Over 60 People in One Week

A mysterious fever is sweeping through India that has so far killed more than 40 children, while hundreds of people have been admitted to hospitals with the illness.

At least 68 people have died in six districts located in the eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh in India in the last week due to the fever, according to The Times of India.

The deaths have prompted the area's chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, to order an increase in bed capacity in hospitals, according to The Independent.

Adityanath has also asked the health department in the state to conduct a detailed investigation into the illness, which has been described as a "mystery fever" by local newspapers over the past week.

According to BBC News, the patients seemingly infected with the illness have suffered from dehydration, nausea, joint pains and headaches, while some people have complained of rashes spreading across their arms and legs.

Of the people who have died, none of them have tested positive for COVID, while physicians in the region have suggested that it may be dengue fever, which is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes that is common in India.

In the space of a week, the illness has been reported in the districts of Agra, Mathura, Mainpuri, Etah, Kasganj and Firozabad, with doctors in the region reporting patients coming in with a decline in platelet counts, which can be a symptom of severe dengue.

Dr Neeta Kulshrestha from Firozabad told the BBC that "the patients, especially children, in hospitals are dying very quickly," while Dr Sangeeta Aneja, the principal and dean of the Autonomous State Medical Hospital in the region, told The Hindu that although some of the patients are testing positive for dengue fever, not all of them are.

"The cases rose suddenly in the last five days and 90% of the affected are children," Aneja said. "Many of them have tested positive for dengue but there are others who have shown a drop in platelets, but have not tested for the viral disease spread by Aedes mosquito."

Meanwhile, when confirming that 40 children had died in the district, Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Manish Asija from Firozabad claimed that "water-logging, lack of sanitation and hygiene are the reasons behind the disease spread."

The Independent reported that in response to the mystery behind the cause of the illness, which was first detected on August 18, Adityanath said that an investigation will be carried out with teams formed to conduct a probe.

"Due to lack of awareness at the local level, the patients were taken to private hospitals and clinics, he told reporters.

"After learning about the fever, the health department and administration appraised authorities of the situation at the state level. Directions have been issued to ensure adequate manpower at medical colleges."

Newsweek has contacted the health department in Uttar Pradesh for comment.

Illness in India
A patient receives treatment in the dengue ward of a government hospital in Allahabad on August 30, 2021. A mysterious fever is sweeping through India that has so far killed more than 40 children and a dozen adults, while several hundreds have been admitted to hospitals with the illness without testing positive for COVID. AFP via Getty Images/Sanjay Kanojia